Friday, February 25, 2011

The Place Next to the World's Happiest Place

We've been out of town for a week, so just catching our collective breath. I didn't post that information prior to our departure for security reasons. Because you never know when one of your readers will read about your upcoming vacation, and then break into your house because they know you're out of town.

But now I can come out and say it...we went to Disneyland. Well, first we went to Morgan Hill, which is always a very happy place in its own right, THEN we went to the Happiest Place on Earth (a.k.a. Disneyland). And THEN we went to California Adventure, which is the park next to Disneyland. We had quite the crew: our 4, my sister Gail and her two youngest, and the proud sponsor of our trip, my mom. I had three pieces of electronics with me: the camcorder, my new camera, and my cell phone. On Day 1, all three were failures. Well, maybe 2.75 were failures. I did get some pictures on my cell phone before it went dead. So we'll just look at pictures from Day 2 for now, and I'll work on getting some Day 1 pictures from the phone and my niece's camera.

California Adventure, while not infused with the fantasy nature of Disneyland, was a real treat. Lots of classic boardwalk-type games and rides, outdoorsy activities for the kids, a cool roller coaster for the larger people, and some pretty exciting "virtual" rides and shows. My very favorite was the "Soaring over California" ride, which was a simulated hang-glider flight over various points in California. Even the wait for the ride was fantastic for me, since it was decorated in a flight test theme, to include rocket engines and support systems that could have been right out of the Rocket site at Edwards AFB! But did I get pictures of that? No, I did not.

Here are the girls and Mark on the river rafting ride. A soaker, but very fun (to watch, ha ha!)


The girls on the rock wall and the zip line:



The girls and their cousin Scotty were amazed at all the coins in the simulated pond. They can find fun ANYWHERE! (check out the roller coasters in the distance)


And here are the girls in somewhat close proximity to Mickey Mouse.


He was off to an important business meeting, so he didn't have time to greet everyone. A little disappointing, but soon forgotten in favor of the Tuck and Roll Bumper Cars!




All in all, a wonderful trip. We still have one more day on our passes because two days in a row was just right. Let's go!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New House


Mark is thinking. Can you tell?

What could be on his mind? Could it be his precious babies up in the tree?


No.

He wants to build a new house.


In a tree.

Ostensibly for the girls.

But we know the truth.


Yes, look here...there will be ladders and trap doors...it will be really cool!

He's already researching and drawing up plans.

I'm sure the kids will love it.


All of them :-)

Not quite there

Many blogs have a "wordless Wednesday". I can never get my act together enough to PLAN these sorts of things, I just have to blurt out whatever comes to mind whenever I come across it. But here IS a picture that really speaks for itself:


I guess the exciting part is putting it on the roll :-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pictures of poor, poor, Mae

First, I need to point out that I have PICTURES of poor, poor Mae. Pictures from a camera. A real one. Well...a real point and shoot. The fancy dancy SLR is still in my distant future.

I got a Nikon Coolpix 12 Mp, $99 at Costco, and it is fantastic! So light and tiny, keeps a charge, and so MANY settings! All to explore! SO EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!!! (Thank you, Mom!)

So you'll see some of my edgy picture taking in the not too distant future. Now...on to Mae.

Poor, poor Mae has been "sick" for ten days now. A week ago Thursday I picked her up from school with a fever of 103.4 degree and vomiting. Fortunately #2 didn't happen until I got there, and was all contained in one receptacle or another. Which is good, because I don't handle vomit well. That lasted for a day, but the fever has persisted, along with cough and congestion. After a week, I broke down and took her to the doctor, where we found that she does NOT have pneumonia, but she DOES have asthma from this thing, which we are medicating. She has steadily improved, but each night, the fever returns, meaning she stays home from school for yet another day.

So each day, Mae and I hang out, play, and battle over school work. This is harder in many ways than you'd think. I have all these PROJECTS which I've had to put on the back burner, but they prey on my mind and distract me. And I do like to play...but frankly I have my limits. I have to meter it out. It's the school work thing that has been the real challenge. I'll confess that homework is routinely a battle, and this just ups the ante. The only "plus" is that I get her when she's fresh, vs after a full day of school. Probably the biggest lesson here is for me--as much as I've toyed with the idea of home-schooling, I don't think I could do it. Not well, and not to the benefit of my children, although the spontaneous field trips would be cool!

OK, here is Mae after a successful art project. Their science segment is studying penguins, art segment makes one out of "tear art", and then in math we measure it!


And here she is making pudding pops. Not a school assignment.


The instructions say to stir for two minutes. Keep going.

OK, two minutes is up.

That virus can't survive in frozen pudding pops, can it? CAN IT????
I'm feeling a little queasy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Wholesome Addiction

Remember Charles?

Caroline?

Mary?

Laura?

Baby Carrie?

Mr Edwards?

And that HORRIBLE Nellie Oleson?

My sister has loaned us seasons one through six of Little House on the Prairie on DVD. We are through most of season two. And we are addicted.

Just about every night, we pack on the couch, and watch their lives play out on our high-tech flat screen TV. They labor, celebrate, grieve, befriend, tease, cavort, and in general mess with the whole spectrum of our emotions. Their lives generate some really great discussions with the girls. Jealousy. Sibling rivalry. Religious differences. Death. Love. Bullying. Deception. Loneliness. I must say, I don't remember Little House being THIS intense! There have been a few episodes that we've had to skip or fast forward, like the time Mr. Edwards gets mauled by the grizzly in front of his newly adopted son, or the story of the young boy suffering at the hands of his abusive alcoholic father, or the time Ma is alone and crazy with fever from an infection on her leg and prepares to amputate it herself. The girls have gotten pretty good at letting me know (by covering their eyes and screaming) when they've had enough.

OK, that's only happened a couple of times. MOST of the episodes are not only entertaining, but instructive as well. The girls identify strongly with Laura, and yes...I'm believing more and more that Mark and I bear a strong resemblance to Charles and Caroline. Maybe we'll even carve MS + CS in our fireplace mantle!

At this rate, we may never get DishNet! And that is OK with me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The way they think

Just an observation, today, about the different things the girls say.

Mae is still very much into role-playing, always as an animal. She'll often rope Abigail in, trying to direct what animal she will be, and what she will say. Abigail will play along about half the time. The other half she will insist on choosing her own character and putting her own story together. After all these details are worked out, the game begins with this announcement: "Ready, set, PLAY!"

You may remember many months ago, when I described one of Mae's intro's into her "game". At the time, she enjoyed being a kitten. I actually went back and found that post, and was surprised to see her description:
“I’m a one-year-old crazy kitten named Belle who likes to swim, and is very well trained, and she’s very shy because you just got her, and she just came out of her mommy.”
I was intrigued because there were so many similarities to her current line, a year and a half later:
"I'm an all brown puppy named Chedder, and I was just born but I'm not all slimy. I'm very shy until you get to know me."
Well, at least she's consistent! Mark continues to scratch his head and wonder if this is normal. I assure him it is, and that at one point, I wanted to be a horse when I grew up.

That IS normal, isn't it?

In other news, both the girls have an interesting new mannerism. They'll pose a question, and if I say "I don't know", they'll press me: "But what do you THINK?" And they'll insist on an answer or a "prediction".

Clearly, they've learned this in school, presumably because "I don't know" is an easy answer for first graders, and they need to be pressed to take a risk. My observation is that it's a lot harder for many adults to say "I don't know", even when they should.

One of life's little ironies!