Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yes, that is a big hunk of meat....

...and yes, it was our Christmas Dinner, and yes, it was DELICIOUS!
For the past several years, the Freston Christmas Eve tradition has been to eat a prime rib dinner. My Mom cooked it to perfection and it was sooooo tender and flavorful. She cooked in in a coating of herbs, rock salt and flour, which hardened to a stucco-like substance she literally broke away with a hammer.

Then there was this little reindeer:

Yeah, those antlers didn't stay on very long, but they sure are festive.

A couple of months ago, my parents bought a horse, and of course, if there's a horse at the Grandparent's house, the Granddaughter should get a ride.

Notice she is practicing her rodeo queen wave.

This Little Tykes Kitchen was by far the hit of the gifts for Lana. She couldn't hardly be convinced to open anything else once she started playing. She's so cute when she's frying up breakfast on the stovetop, or washing dishes in the sink, or micro-waving a hotdog. This little kitchen has taken up permanent residence in Lana's bedroom. In the mornings, she won't hardly hold still long enough for me to change her before she runs down to start cooking.
Thanks Mom and Dad. We really had a great time. Next time, I really do need to take more pictures.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Christmastime Lynden Trip

This year we ventured to Lynden before Christmas, unlike years previous when we would go after Christmas. We hung out with family and saw quite a few friends. On the way there, we stopped in Bellingham so Lana could get a picture with Santa Claus. The Bellis Fair Santa was much better than the cheesy Wal-Mart Santa from last year. Lana wasn't scared or anything and even smiled for a few pictures.

A few weeks ago I found this beautiful Christmas dress for Lana. Even though it was an informal event, I made Lana wear it to the big Lenssen Gathering on Saturday. Most kids were wearing jeans and sweatshirts, but our girl was dressed to the nines. Don't worry, it didn't slow her down at all. She ran around and got into mischief with the other 3.4 millions little kids in attendance.
On Sunday afternoon we had a lovely Christmas lunch/dinner and opened presents. Lana finally figured out how to open presents and had a grand time doing so. All the cousins were so sweet and good with her, letting her play with them and follow after them and making sure she got up and down the stairs safely. At one point, Lana walked up to her Aunt Angela, politely said, "Up Please" and was promptly obliged. Lana is so lucky to have wonderful aunts and uncles who love and adore her!
One of the best things about Grandma Sue's house in the organ. Sue and Lana could play together on that thing for hours and hours.

I failed to take pictures of us out and about, visiting friends. On Saturday night we went to an Ugly Sweater Party where we were instructed to wear horrible, tacky Christmas sweaters. You know, the kind with the bedazzled snowman or flocked evergreen tree. Well, we didn't have that much time to hunt down the ugliest of the ugly, but Dan did well, running to the second hand store and picking me up a brown and orange number that flattered nobody and a two-sizes-too-small striped sweater vest for himself. We didn't win the sweater contest (the bedazzled snowman took that prize) but we fit right in with the rest of the Tacky McTackerson's.
Our Lynden trip was only 4 days long, but we definitely crammed our days full.
Merry Christmas Lynden (and all the Lynden-ites). We love you!
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Yup, that was my Daughter

So, I know, I shouldn't be surprised that my 18-month old likes to explore, open doors, crawl into odd places and get into mischief, but this weekend in Lynden, sweet Lana brought with her some new kinds of mayhem. Confess, we must:

-If you were dining at the mexican restaurant in North Bend on Friday, and saw a blond toddler alternate between waving and saying 'hi' to you and throwing bits of her taco on the floor, yup, that was my daughter.

-If your name is Grandma Sue and you wonder why your little sparkly silver tree is crooked, yup, that was my daughter.

-If you kindly invited us over to your house for a party on Saturday night and witnessed un-capped magic markers strewn about and a little person down in the basement, standing in the cat's water bowl, munching on cat food, quite content to do so, yup, that was my daughter.

-If you were at the big Lenssen Gathering and saw a little girl in a fancy Christmas dress run full-speed into the dessert table, yup, that was my daughter.

-If your name is cousin Grant and you wondered why your farm set looked like a tornado kept blowing it apart, yup that was my daughter. If you wondered who kept chasing your remote-controlled jeep around the house, that was my daughter too.

-If you work at Bob's Burgers and Brew in Birch Bay and you had to clean up french fries, fish sticks and tartar sauce smeared all over the table and squished onto the floor, I apologize. Yup, that was my daughter.

-If you are a nursery worker at Third Christian Reformed Church and you got sick and tired of putting a certain little girl's red flower back in her hair, yup, that was my daughter. My daughter was also the one who refused to keep her shoes on longer than 0.2 seconds.

-If you're named Uncle Dean or Aunt Lyndsey and you believe your basement was ransacked by hoodlums, never fear, it was just my daughter. (Okay, so it wasn't all her doing, the other cousins helped, but pound-for-pound she was probably chief mess maker.)

Thanks everyone for your patience, humor and understanding. Apologies to all. If any mess turned out to be expensive, send us the bill and we'll take it out of Lana's college fund.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To my Lana Jean

Hi sweet girl! Mama can't hardly believe you are a whole 18 months old, but you just keep growing
and learning and changing. You're starting to become a little girl and less of a baby every day. I'm not sure I'm ready for that, but I guess I don't have much of a choice in the matter, do I?

New this month for you: Pigtails! Finally, finally, finally, you have enough hair for me to actually do something with.

Also new this month: NO and MINE. Sigh. You are definitely showing me just how headstrong and independent you can be. I know that develpomentally this is normal and to be expected, but it really seemed to sneak up on us. Please be patient with Mama and Daddy as we learn how to set boundaries and negotiate the wide world of disciplining a toddler.

Right now you have some very clear preferences. You like tractors, Minnie Mouse, climbing on furniture, sitting in the toy box or any basket or box, reading books with Mama and Daddy, singing Wheels on the Bus with the correct hand motions, eating cheese, playing in the mud, putting on makeup with Mama in the mornings, enthusiastically greeting Daddy in the evenings, and getting squashed in big family sandwich hugs.

I love you so much Honey Bear, and it's so fun to see you grow up, but it's really okay to slow down a bit, I won't mind, I promise : )
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Scenes from our Christmas House

1. Victorian Christmas Village 2. Precious, old-school Nativity 3. Dan's pheasant tree ornament 4. My crafty button wreath 5. Merry Christmas banner from Angela 6. Happy girl playing on her new bean bag chair.

We're all decorated and ready for Christmas here at our place. Last weekend Dan and I put up the tree and made the house festive while Lana napped. When she got up she was very surprised and took us around, showing us exactly what was different, as if we didn't know.

We're planning on doing lots of visiting within the next couple of weeks, so Lynden friends and Oregon friends, we'll be heading your way soon. Give us a ring if you want to meet up. We'd love to see you!
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm Lovin' It!

Right now I'm lovin' me some olives. Well, actually, Lana's the one enjoying the olives, but I'm lovin' the finger-by-finger eating.
I'm lovin' me some gorgeous blooming Christmas Cactus. This plant has exceeded all expectations and has just kept blooming and blooming, despite being knocked over at least twice by a curious little one.
I'm also lovin' me some Christmas decorations. Yesterday we put up the tree and the little village and all the decor from the plastic bins that stay stored away for 11 months.
But more than olives, decorations and flowers, I'm lovin' me some tiny blonde pigtails. Finally, after 18 long months of fruitlessly trying, I can now successfully put little pigtails in Lana's hair. They're so stinkin' cute I just want to eat them up.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Thankful Feast

This was the first year Dan and I volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner at our place. My parents and Dwayne, Angela and their three kids planned to share in the festivities with us. I was very excited and a bit nervous to be in charge of such an important dinner, but I knew I would have the help of my Mum and sis-in-law, Angela. They are both seasoned professionals in the area of great feasts, so I was confident the dinner would be a success.

However, the weather decided to throw a wrench in my plans. We got snow. Lots and lots of snow.

It makes for a fun picture and it's fun to play in for a while, but it can completely ruin travel plans.

My parents ended up not able to drive up and with them stayed the shrimp salad, pumpkin pie, coconut cream pie and cornbread stuffing. I made up a quick stuffing and read up on turkey preparation. Angela and the kids made a pumpkin pie, because really, is it Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?

Sadie and Allison made a creative contribution to the meal by making us all adorable Pilgrim hats for place cards.

After dinner Angela had the clever idea of having all of us write out what we were thankful for. According to the mess on Lana's face (and hands and hair) she was thankful for delicious sweet potatoes.

And of course, no Thanksgiving meal would be complete without pie. Lots and lots of pie. Here we have peanut butter pie, chocolate orange buttermilk pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and sour cream pear pie. We named this the "tour of pies" and a few of us hopped on the train, trying to have a small slice of each. I don't think anyone was able to accomplish that feat.
It was a really great meal and I think our first hosting gig was a success. The turkey turned out great, the stuffing wasn't too dry, the mashed potatoes were creamy and the gravy didn't have too many lumps. Now our fridge is full of leftovers and we've been eating pie for breakfast. Hungry? You're welcome to join us for turkey leftovers, if you can bust through the snow drifts on the way to our house.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

(Quite Literally) Thankful in the Storm

Recently it seems a lot of books I've been reading, stories I've been hearing, and messages at church have been about being thankful in the midst of the storms of life. We've all gone through a metaphorical storm or two. Sickness, financial problems, relationship issues; all of these are easy-to-name modern-day storms. But the other day, we faced a storm of a different nature, indeed, it was a quite literal storm, full of rain and thunder and lightning, more furious than any storm I can ever remember. This raging storm provided me with a much-needed opportunity to practice being thankful.

While the wind was pounding rain against the window, I was thankful for my warm bed and dry house.

When the power went out, I was thankful that it wasn't too cold and we didn't need to worry about pipes freezing.

In the morning when the power was still out, I was extremely thankful for my resourceful and prepared husband. He knew where the flashlights were and strategically placed them and the lantern in places he knew I would need light to get myself and Lana ready for the day.

While getting Lana dressed and fed, I was thankful that she was curious, and not afraid, of the change in her environment. Her easy-goingness that morning was much appreciated.

That afternoon, while talking to Avista customer service about why we still didn't have power, I was thankful I could speak to an actual person, and not a machine. The woman on the other end had obviously had a long day dealing with angry customers and I was thankful she still tried to sound friendly as she explained our power might not be back on until the next day.

That evening as I drove to our dark house, I was thankful I had the option of forgoing a cold dinner from a can and could drive into town for a hot cheeseburger.

Getting ready for bed that night in a dark house, I was thankful for extra blankets and warm pajamas. I was thankful that the house temperature hadn't dropped too much and thankful that if it did get too cold, we could pack a few things and head to a motel for the night.

Early the next morning, I was thankful to wake up to the sound of the furnace clicking on and the numbers flashing on my alarm clock.

While getting ready for the day, I was thankful for a hot shower and a garage that opened with the push of a button.

And now? Now I am thankful the storm passed, the power was restored and our lives were only inconvenienced for a mere 24 hours.

P.S. Thanks everyone for your well wishes while we were ill. As promised, we bounced back and ended our time at PukeFest 2010.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Puking, an Ode at 2 am

Things are busy at our house right now.
You ask, what's going on? Who? What? When? Why? and How?
If I go into much detail, you'll surely cry, ick!
But alas, all members here are quite sick.
It started with the baby; the cute one got it first.
Although now we're not sure who has it the worst.
The parenting falls to who is most decent,
Who can actually stand upright and hasn't puked recent.
Sorry, I cannot see the King, Queen, Earl or Duke,
My night is full, washing crib sheets covered in puke.

Of these events, I could make light,
And I suppose I am, up at 2 am, starting to write.
I could say, it's a new diet, the Karen Carpenter Plan.
Make a tasteless joke? Oh yes! Anyone can.
If I weren't sick, the fun things I'd do,
Paint, scrapbook, or edit pictures from the zoo.
Instead I sit here, tired, needing sleep,
Thinking, if anyone throws up again tonight, I surely will weep.
Fun things we'll do later, like sing along to the juke,
But right now I'm afraid we'd all just puke.

This might make a humorous blog post,
Our friends and family will laugh, or at least most.
I know you're all sympathetic and full of care,
Because you've done this before, you've been there.
I'm certain soon we will all bounce back,
And again be full of what we now lack.
Having the stomach flu, fun? Certainly not!
I'd much rather have a head full of snot.
Whether you're named Agnus, Bartholemew, Jack or Luke,
Absolutely no one, anywhere, likes to puke.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Fun Party Time!

Hi, this is Lana. Mama says because yesterday afternoon was all about me having fun, I needed to be the one to tell you all about it.

First of all, I don't know much about Halloween, but I do know I like fun new outfits, playing games with other kids and picking out candy.
I was dressed up as Minnie Mouse and I even (sometimes) kept my authentic Disneyland ears on.

We went to a party at church where I saw a lot of my friends. Their Mamas put them in neat costumes too. This is my friend, Gavin. We play together in nursery. A couple weeks ago he bit me, but Mama said I kind of deserved it and that I shouldn't put my fingers in other people's mouths.

The only biting at the party was chewing up all the yummy candy and cookies.

I think my very favorite game was the duck pond. It's kind of like my bath, but with more toys. I had fun with Daddy picking out all the different colored ducks. I wanted to get in the water and play with them, but Daddy wouldn't let me. I won lots of prizes for picking up all the ducks.

Mama wanted me to sit still for just a second so she could get a picture of me at the official picture-taking spot, but I wanted none of that. There were basketballs that needed tossed, rings to throw, ducks to gather and bounce houses to jump in. I didn't want to sit still. Not even for a few seconds.

I loved jumping in the huge bounce house. One time, my cousin Grant had to tell some big kids to not jump hard by me because I'm little and could get hurt. Mama was so glad I had my tough cousin to protect me.
Did I have fun at the party? Oh yeah.

Mama and Daddy know when I smile this big, it only means one thing; This little Minnie Mouse could not be any happier! And they're right.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Painter

Instead of carving pumpkins, I thought Lana would enjoy painting more.

I was right.
Lana had a blast and made a huge mess.

We started with a little bit of blue paint.

She liked that well enough, so we added some yellow.


Then to add the perfect finishing touch, she covered the entire pumpkin (and her hands, face and hair) in pink.

I may be biased, but I do believe we have a talented little artist in our midst.

It's a Masterpiece!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Haunted Palouse Flashback

Photo Courtesy of http://www.visitpalouse.com/events/2010haunt.html

We only live a few miles from the small town of Palouse, Washington and lately we've been hearing and seeing all the advertisements for Haunted Palouse, a town-wide Halloween attraction with two full haunted houses. The proceeds raised go to support community programs and scholarships. We're not going this year and probably won't go for a few years yet, but I clearly remember a visit to Palouse four years ago.

Dan and I had been dating for about four months and he drove across the state to spend the weekend with me. My brother, Kasey, was a junior at the University of Idaho and he had just started seeing the lovely Christina. Kasey and I planned a double-date for the four of us to go to Haunted Palouse. I thought it would be fun for all of us to get a little spooked and I wanted to see if Kasey's date was indeed good enough for my little brother. I shouldn't have worried about Christina not meeting my high standards. She was everything anyone could have wanted, wrapped up in an adorable package. What I should have worried about was chickening out, or worse yet, Kasey chickening out.

While waiting in line for the first haunted house, we got our first glimpse of how easily terrified Kasey can get. We were just standing there and saw some characters in costumes and masks walking around. Kasey tensed up and tried to tuck himself deeper into the crowd, but apparently his fear could be sensed and sure enough, a scary masked man picked Kasey out and stood behind him. Every time Kasey tried to move away, he'd get followed. Kasey even tried ignoring the ghoul and deliberately looked the other way, but as soon as he looked up, the scary ghoul would be there. We left the masked man behind when we went into the first house. Dan was strong and brave and took the lead, holding tightly to my hand. Christina was after me and Kasey was last.

The townspeople of Palouse do a great job and the haunted house was thoroughly frightening. We walked through, jumping and screaming and having a great time. At the second haunted house, Kasey decided to go first, followed by Christina, then me. and Dan would be last. This arrangement only worked until the first fright, at which point Kasey instinctively went into survival-mode and hid behind his date, actually pushing her in front of him. Christina was brave though, and soldiered on, but instead of holding onto Kasey's hand, she held mine. We went through most of the haunted house that way. I was hesitant, but I didn't ever throw Christina to the spooks.

After we survived the second haunted house, we all couldn't help but poke a bit of fun at Kasey. I mean really, who pushes their date in front of them, toward the scary creatures of the dark? Kasey had the perfect opportunity to show off his toughness for this girl he really liked, and instead he not-so-metaphorically threw her to the wolves.

Well, I am happy to report that Christina did not hold the Haunted Palouse incident against my brother. In fact, he must have impressed her greatly with traits other than bravery in a haunted house because they've been married for over a year. We can all laugh about this memory now, but I am fairly certain Kasey has not taken his wife in any haunted houses since.

Here is an open invitation to you two, Kasey and Christina. Whenever you want to come visit in October, Dan and I will happily take you to Haunted Palouse again. Partly because it's nice to support a good cause, partly because it's a fun date night, and mostly because we like a good laugh : )

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Notes from the Zoo

Are you feeling like I'm that annoying co-worker who keeps showing you vacation pictures weeks after their return? Well, too bad. It was a trip worthy of several posts, but this is the last one, I promise.

On our last day in California, we all piled in a large van and drove the 90 miles south to San Diego to go to the world famous San Diego Zoo. We'd been there before, 20 years ago, and were excited to return.
(click on the photos to see them larger)

The San Diego Zoo is fabulous. I think it's the largest in the country and it definitely takes several hours to walk through the park. It's also rather hilly, so we got to push Lana's stroller up and down hills a good portion of the day.
There are all kinds of neat exhibits; pretty much everything imaginable. Most impressive was the large elephant area, along with the animals of Africa exhibit.

Lana liked the Polar Bears and getting the chance to run free when permitted. Dan raised birds for years and enjoyed all the exotic avian species on display. I thought the Giant Panda was pretty cool. There were some great little play areas for the kids to run around on and Clint and Sandy thought it was fun to play on the large statues.

On the drive home, we got to experience a true southern California commute, complete with bumper-to-bumper traffic and two tired, screaming babies. Both Grant and Lana were not happy and they let all of us know it. I think they screamed for an hour straight (although it felt longer). At one point, Sandy looked back at Lana and said, "Lana, could you please STOP!" Jen was quick to shush Sandy, but the rest of us just laughed. If only asking politely would do it, dear Sandy, we'd have asked that a long time ago.

A day at the zoo was a great way to end our wonderful vacation. We had jam-packed our days full of fun and family togetherness and really did get the most out of our vacation days. If you're planning a similar trip, I highly recommend it. Let me know and I'll tell you some of the tricks that worked (and didn't work so well) for us.
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Disneyland Adventure, Part 3

Day three was just as exciting as days one and two, so get comfortable, we've got a lot to cover.

Thursday morning was a perfect, sunny Southern California morning, complete with long lines at the entrance gate. We had early-entry passes and thought the extra hour would ensure no crowds, but I guess everyone had the same passes. Walking in that morning, I was amused by every one's excited, yet already exhausted expressions.

On the third and final day of our Disneyland portion of the vacation, we decided to make sure to hit the remaining attractions that we wanted to see.

At the top of that list was Nemo's Undersea Adventure, a submarine ride through the story of the movie, Finding Nemo. It was super cute and neat for all ages, even Lana liked peering out her little porthole and taking in the sites. I think it's the longest ride we went on, clocking in at about 12 minutes. Next up was Autopia, where riders got the opportunity to drive the cars of the FUTURE! Well, apparently the cars of the future are slow and on a track. Clint really liked it though and proudly showed off his driver's license. He drove with Dan, who after the ride wished Scott and Jen good luck with Clint's driving future.

Jen took Sandy over to the tea cups and Sandy sure enjoyed herself, although Jen looked a bit green toward the end. Even though it's a Disneyland Classic, the rest of us stayed far, far away from that potentially vomit-inducing ride.

We trooped across the park to take in Indiana Jones again (it's just as cool the second time) and took Lana to the show at the Enchanted Tiki Room. It was cheesy and corny and once Lana got settled down, she loved it. It's a pretty fun show for little kids and a nice break from pushing through the crowds. We decided to make one last stop at Disneyland before heading over to Disney's California Adventure for the rest of the day.

Yes, Lana finally got her turn at the Mad Hatter shoppe for her official mouse ears.She's an adorable Minnie Mouse, but she wouldn't leave her ears on for more than a few seconds.

Over at DCA we hit the Grizzly Rapids, a fun river-raft style ride that definitely will get you wet.

We also went on the Monsters Inc. ride which was done really well and made especially for little kids. Imagine Lana's delight when she got the chance to meet the star of Monsters Inc, Sully himself. She loved that big blue monster and he was so good and sweet to her.Most of the adults went on California Screamin', an awesome roller coaster complete with sound effects and Mickey's Big Wheel, a ginormous Ferris wheel that overlooks the entire park.

That night, every one, sans me and Lana, went back to re-fill their cup of Disneyland fun. Rides were ridden again and fun and merriment had. Lana needed to catch up on her rest. I laid her down at 8:00 and she was softly snoring by 8:05. My head hit the pillow at 8:30 and I was alseep (not snoring, ladies don't snore, we breathe deeply) by 8:33. Dan woke me when he came in, telling me how drenched and cold he was from riding Splash Mountain again.

This trip was about having fun together as a family, but it was also about grandparents enjoying their grandkids. Lana, Grant, Clint and Sandy have no idea all the planning, travel preparations, reservations and work that went into their Dinseyland adventure, but they definitely know how much their grandparents love them.My Mom and Dad are great grandparents and I know they loved tromping around Disneyland with their grandkids. They got to really see how excitable and enthusiastic Clint can be, how talkative and curious Sandy can get, how independent and headstrong Lana can be, and how sweet and content little Grant is.

Oh, and don't think that just because we're done with Dinseyland, we're done with the vacation. Stick around for notes from the zoo, coming next....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disneyland Adventure, Part 2

Okay, so reading over part one, I'm pretty sure I mixed up a few things from our first and second days, and I'm probably going to mix up things from the second and third days too. Oh well, regardless of the day, it was all fun. What I know for sure of the second day was that we all started out in our rain ponchos and prepared ourselves for a rain-filled day at Disneyland. Dan and I took Lana over to Fantasyland and Toontown so Lana could enjoy some rides made especially for the wee ones. I think I was more excited than she was to ride the carousel and the flying Dumbos. Of course we rode It's a Small World, which was a nice respite from the rain, but we paid for it by having that song stuck in our heads the rest of the day. Mickey's House is in Toontown and there we met Minnie, Pluto and Goofy. Lana ran out of steam before we could get to Mickey Mouse himself. Eventually Lana took a nap in her poncho-wrapped stroller and Dan and I got to enjoy some "big kid" rides. We went on Space Mountain, a super fast roller coaster through the galaxy, Splash Mountain, a great log ride that is guaranteed to get you soaked, and Big Thunder Railroad, a neat cross between a train and a roller coaster. Sometime in there we also went on the Matterhorn. I rode with my 3-year old niece, Sandy, and she tried so hard to be brave, even though the ride scared her. I thought it was great though, and so did the other adults.

Directly across from Disneyland Park is another theme park, Disney's California Adventure. Since our tickets were good for both parks, we headed over to DCA for the afternoon. The rain had finally stopped and the sun came out, but all the wimps had already headed home, so we didn't have to hardly wait in line for anything. Soaring Over California is a definite highlight of DCA. It's an IMAX-type experience that showcases the best of beautiful California. A Bug's Land is an entire corner of the park dedicated to attractions inspired by the adorable Pixar movie, A Bug's Life. It's especially great for the littles and Dan and I had fun taking Lana and Sandy on different rides. Honestly, most of the rides in the A Bug's Land are pretty lame-o for adults, but they are bright and colorful and very kid-friendly, so Sandy and Lana thoroughly enjoyed themselves. One attraction of A Bug's Land that was really neat for everyone was the 3-D interactive movie, It's Tough to be a Bug. It was funny, educational, entertaining and a very cool 3-D visual experience.

One ride at DCA that most certainly isn't for the wee ones is the infamous Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The name should tell you everything; stay away, stay far, far away. Well, we didn't stay away, all of us tall enough, including my 5-year old nephew, Clint, took our chances on the tower. It's an impeccably put-together 'drop' style ride where strapped-in riders (hostages?) go up several feet, then drop very, very quickly, then go up again, then back down. At one point an automatic camera took all our pictures and sure enough, the look on my face was one of sheer horror. I chose not to buy the photograph for fear of it haunting my dreams. Okay, so perhaps I am being a bit melodramatic, but dang, that ride scared me and no, I did not go on it again.

That night we had tickets to the World of Color show. I'd heard it was a neat water and light show, similar to the fountain show at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Dan and I have seen the Vegas show and therefore weren't really expecting to be impressed by what Disney had to offer. We should have expected Disney to raise the bar of what a fountain show could be. It was absolutely amazing. Fountains and lights and fire and Disney movies and music all put together in a stunningly gorgeous presentation. If you have the chance to see World of Color, do it. I'm sure you'll love it as much as we did.

Highlights, Day 2:
Dan and Shelle - Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Soaring Over California. These are all can't-miss attractions and certainly worth waiting in line for (although if you don't have to, all the better).
Lana - the rides in A Bug's Land. They are made for 1-4 year-olds, so Lana fit right in.

Stay tuned, more to come......

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DisneyLand Adventure, Part 1

A week's worth of travel, rides, attractions, rain and revelry can't be summarized easily or quickly, so I'll be taking a few posts to get to everything. To get started, let me say this - We had a wonderful time. I can't say enough good things about Disneyland and how absolutely perfect it is for kids. Oh yeah, and the adults had a great time too. This trip is one my mom has been wanting to take for years. She finally decided about 6 months ago to make her dream a reality. She and my dad arranged for all three of their kids and spouses (we're sad Christina couldn't come, but medical school isn't very Disney friendly) and all the grandkids to fly to Anaheim for a week of family fun and togetherness.

Have you ever been to Disneyland? I have, when I was six and Dan went when he was four. We were definitely overdue and very excited for Lana to get this experience. We got there Tuesday morning just as the park was opening and we came into the courtyard at Main Street USA. At City Hall all the first-timers got a special pin. The air was filled with happy music and kids were laughing and smiling all around. I felt a little cheesy getting so caught up in the atmosphere until I caught my sister, Jen's eye and she was just as giddy as I was.

We saw a group of kids gathering near the center of the courtyard and quickly figured out why. There was the lovely Minnie Mouse, greeting little ones and posing for pictures. We hopped in line and Lana officially met her first Disney celebrity.

My parents took Clint and Sandy over to the Mad Hatter shoppe for their official mouse ears. Clint proudly wore his most of the trip (even on the airplane ride home) and Sandy was a "pwetty pwetty pwincess" in her pink ears and tiara.

Once we took the requisite family pictures (all the family from my Mom's side were there too. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and kids.) we headed for the rides. The Jungle Cruise was a fun, easy way to get started and even the babies could ride. Indiana Jones was fast and action-packed and one of my top-two rides, and Pirates of the Caribbean is a pleasant boat ride through pirate-infested waters. Next up was Tarzan's Treehouse which was great for the kids to climb and run through. We made our way through the Haunted Mansion and took a ferry over to Tom Sawyer Island. The island was great for everyone to relax and explore for a bit. Lana liked the wobbly suspension bridge, but didn't like to hold Dan's hand as they walked across.

We hit other rides in Adventure Land and Frontier Land before heading over to Fantasy Land. The weather was certainly less than cooperative and it rained on us pretty hard, but that made the lines short, so we got to a lot of rides.

Highlights of Disney Land, Day 1:
Shelle and Dan - Indiana Jones - awesome ride, very short line, but worth it even if the line is long.
Lana - Winnie the Pooh- very colorful ride with happy music, perfect for the little ones.

More posts about or trip to follow....