Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Wishes

In the words of my 3-year-old....


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sing, Choirs of Angels!

I'm so grateful to God for my children, and my heart is filled with praise to Him when I see them up on stage singing about baby Jesus. It's a sight that at one time, I wasn't sure I'd ever see. Now instead of crying tears of sadness for myself when I see kids doing Christmas programs, my eyes leak tears of joy and thankfulness to the giver of all good gifts, my Father.

Here are a few photos of the kids singing in their various Christmas programs this week.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow, the day after

What will probably be the last batch of snow photos is posted here. It's been a treat, for sure!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No longer a light sprinkle

Well guys, we've gotten just about a foot of snow here in the little old Antelope Valley today. For as long as I've lived here (almost 20 years), this is pretty unheard of. So what did we do? Play and photograph, of course! :) It's 7:00pm right now, and the kids have been out there in the relative dark for about 45 minutes having a grand old time. They're just slightly frozen.

I posted a bunch of photos on my facebook account (here and here), but here are a few to get you started.

Snow pictures

Sorry, there's a lot so they're on facebook: Click

It's Snowing!!!

Yeah, yeah, I know... it's only a light sprinkle. No blizzards here. But any snow is cause for major celebration here in the Mojave Desert! Schools are closed, City services are closed, and everybody's staying home. Woohoo!! Laugh at us if you want, but it's a rare day in Lancaster when the ground is white instead of brown.

Not much sticking at our house yet, but here are a couple pictures my dad sent of his house, about 3 miles up the road:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A full day of Disney magic

This trip to Disneyland was filled with surprises... the first one being that we were even *going* to Disneyland!

Last Friday we got up as usual and prepared for school. Colby dressed in his school dress code (collared shirt, etc), but the rest of us all had on our Disney attire, complete with Mickey-ear hats. The only glitch in the surprise was that I hadn't made Colby's lunch the night before, so he got worried when it wasn't on the counter for him. We told him we'd have to bring it to him at school later since we hadn't made it last night and it was time to leave for school.

This video will show you what happened after about 20 minutes of driving toward Disneyland. The boys were just chatting in the back seat as usual, listening to the Disney CD we'd put in the player, unaware that we had gotten onto the freeway and were headed out of town. Finally Colby started to notice the scenery was a little different:

Once we got there, unknown to the kids, their best friends were in line at the Buzz Lightyear ride, a favorite of all of them. We casually walked over beside them in line and enjoyed the second surprise of the day. "Hey, who's that?" "Kale's here?!??!" It was priceless. They proceeded to walk around all day hand in hand.

Then later, about 6:00pm, there was an overhead annoucement that something special was about to happen on Main Street. I knew what it was, but they didn't! I grabbed them and we ran for Main Street, them begging, "Mama, what's going to happen!!!??" We stood there for a few moments and they lit up the castle, followed by lights travelling all the way down Main Street until they reached the huge Christmas tree in Town Square and lit that up too. So beautiful!

But then, one more surprise was in store! It started to snow! It was bubble-machine snow, but of course the kids didn't know, nor did they care. They danced around, got all excited, and even tried to catch a few flakes on their tongues. The question of the moment was, "Is this *real* snow, mama?" Well, we are always very honest with the kids, to the point they even know Santa is just a pretend game. But their expressions and awe were just so precious, I couldn't bear to tell them it was just a bubble maker. Instead, I said, "It's Disney magical snow," and that was the truth.

It was such a lovely day with so many wonderful memories. Disney, Christmas, and my family all rolled into one... how could I go wrong?

Here are a few last pictures of the day:

(I wanted to add a few more but keep getting an error. Here's the link to all the pictures.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Twinkle, twinkle, pretty lights

In case you're noticing a trend, yes, I have been mainly posting my photos on facebook lately. Since I upload them there anyway, it's really simple for me to just post the link instead of uploading them here too. It's especially handy for multiple photos, since I've found that the blogger photo upload process is fairly tedious for that sort of thing.

So after that long and mostly unnessary explanation, here's the link to my latest batch of photos- Christmas lights!! The lights are probably my favorite part of Christmas. We try to go out several times each year and tour lots of different neighborhoods and houses. But the season is never complete without visiting Clark Court.

Clark Court is our city's "candy cane lane." Every house on this long cul-de-sac does it up BIG for Christmas. And the awe factor is multiplied by the fact that all the houses are big and beautiful- even without the lights. I can't imagine the work and expense that goes into something like this, but just driving through really gets me in the Christmas spirit. (However, I also like to walk through- better for taking pictures!)

I also took lots of photos of my parents' house because it's really something to see. In fact, everybody got tired of my dad always winning the neighborhood decorating contest, so they quit having it. No kidding! But the house is still a winner in my book.

So enjoy the lights this year, and let them remind you of the baby who came to be the Light of the world.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Houston, we have a problem

This is what I would look like as an astronaut, which is one of the main reasons why I'm not an astronaut.

More Shuttle fun

The whole fam got to go see the shuttle today... pictures here

Monday, December 1, 2008


My aunt sent me a video of these guys doing an appearance on Conan O'Brien's show, but seeing as I can't stand him, I had to find a different video to post on my blog. :) Seriously, though, after you watch this one, go to youtube and look them up (it's spelled Pilobolus). Very neat!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome, Endeavor!

We got a rare opportunity this afternoon to see the Space Shuttle touch down at Edwards Air Force Base. It was about a 45 minute drive from our house to the viewing area, and we were by no means all alone. Many other families took the time to drive out too, some complete with motorhomes and picnic tables.

My mom, who is a nurse for NASA and was waiting to recover the astronauts from the shuttle, called about 5 minutes before it landed and said, "They're coming in from the west!" We didn't quite understand all that entailed, but kept our eye generally to the west. Problem was, our eyes were looking too high in the sky! It was almost too late before we realized that "coming in from the west" meant that the shuttle wouldn't be circling over our heads before landing, but instead would be coming straight toward us on the horizon. At the last minute, we heard people around us shouting, "It's almost on the ground!!" and sure enough, we spotted it just before it touched down.

It was neat to be there and experience a landing, even though we didn't get to see it come down from the sky. My mom will be- no exaggerating- living at work for the next two weeks while the shuttle is here. They'll get it all fixed up and ready to fly back to Florida on the 747. Until then, I'm hoping for a chance to get up close to the shuttle if they have any public tours. And next summer we get to go to Florida to see a launch!!

Blogger is sort-of a pain to use for a lot of photo uploading, but I've posted my photos on my facebook page. You can see them using this link, even if you don't have a facebook account. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

They've got my number

Yep, they're right:

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.

Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

Set your DVRs!

Now don't say I never did anything for you. Here's a lengthy list of every Christmas show and TV special that will be on this year, complete with date, time, and channel. So go clear off all that other junk on your DVR and get ready for some Christmas television goodness!


If you haven't already seen our Thanksgiving pictures on my facebook, here's the link. You don't have to have an account to view them, I don't think.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

...particularly if boxes of Christmas decor lining every hallway in your home gets you in the holiday spirit.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If you need a Dr. Pepper

Just found this on Snopes: Dr. Pepper is giving away a free 20-oz bottle to everyone in America. Here's more info.

If you need a laugh

This guy is hilarious. His name is Gerry Dee, and he was a contestant on "Last Comic Standing." By some glitch of the universe, he didn't win, but I guarantee you'll get a laugh out of this bit. Every time Brian and I come across it, we die laughing again. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At WalMart...

...the name-brand-dressed teen in line with his mother behind me at the checkstand reached over and helped himself to some of the lotion that was FOR SALE, not FOR SAMPLE. Subtle difference, I know.

...the checker was trying to swipe my card on her machine and instead dropped it in a little crack between the machine and it's casing. As my ice cream started melting, she contorted herself to try and get her arm in there, apologizing profusely all the while. She did eventually get it out. I hope she gets a raise. Or at least a better sense of where the card slider thing is located.

...they have an entire, very long, aisle dedicated to every sort of Christmas candy imaginable. I went down this aisle.

...I did not buy any candy from the aforementioned aisle, nor did I buy the peppermint cream oreos, though I had them in my hand two different times.

...I got annoyed at all the homeless people hanging around outside the front doors. How dare they look at me while I'm walking in. Don't they know I just want to get my groceries in peace? They shouldn't be allowed to loiter out there. time, I'll buy some food for the aforementioned homeless people and be thankful I'm not sitting outside WalMart depending on the kindness of strangers.

It's that time of year again

Yep, time for the incredibly hilarious seasonal JibJab video, starring... US!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Disneyland trip report... it's smokin'!

Well, that was a Disneyland trip like no other! Let’s start at the beginning.

We were supposed to go with my parents to Disneyland on Saturday. The day before, my mom called and offered to pay for a hotel room if we’d like to go down that evening instead of waking up at dark-thirty on Saturday morning. After reserving two rooms at the Anabella (with the micechat rate- woohoo!), we were on our way.

We did hit some heavy traffic on the 57, so it ended up taking about 3 hours to get there, but it would have been worse if we had taken the 5. We checked in and headed over to the new Anaheim Gardenwalk and got right in at California Pizza Kitchen. After dinner, we did a bit of shopping and then headed back to the room to get some sleep.

Apparently, some among us didn’t think sleep was all that important, since Tyler didn’t calm down and close his eyes until about 10:30pm.

Bright and early Saturday morning, we were up and at ‘em and ready to go. After breakfast, we commented at how lucky we were that the wind seemed to be blowing the smoke from all the wildfires away from us. During the course of the day, we heard that the 5 freeway and a bunch of others were closed, so we were thankful that we had decided to come down the previous night!

Our first stop was the Peter Pan ride. While we headed to that line, we sent Brian over to get Space Mountain fast passes. He made it back to the Peter Pan line, which was fabulously short, just in time to join us before we boarded our pirate ship. Neither of the kids particularly liked it, even though I think it’s the best ride in Fantasyland.

After our trip to Neverland, we made a beeline for Indiana Jones, which only had a 10 minute wait for stand-by. Here we had our first experience with child swap, where Brian and I rode first while my parents stayed with the kids, and then we switched. It worked great, though by the time we had our turn at riding, the stand-by line still wasn’t that long. Nice feature, though! Colby was apprehensive about the ride, even though he’s been on it once before, but by the time we got off, he was a regular ol’ adventurer.

About that time, CA Adventure was about to open, so we headed over there, hoping to avoid a long line for Toy Story Midway Mania. They opened the turnstiles a little before 10:00am, so that gave us a few minutes to stop in and rent a couple of strollers, which turned out to be the best purchases of the day. :)

We got onto the Toy Story ride within about 15 minutes, and everybody really enjoyed the ride. I even beat my video-game pro husband’s score! Up until this point, we hadn’t had too much trouble with the smoke, but after we got off Toy Story, the wind must have changed. The sky was brown and our breathing was definitely being affected. I even got flakes of ash in my teeth a couple times! We wanted to get a few more rides in CA out of the way before lunch, so we trudged on.

We did Soarin’ and tried to ride Tower of Terror, but just as we got there, they were sending everyone out of line and saying they didn’t know when the ride would be back up. The kids had gone with Grandma and Papa to the Bug’s Life 4-D show, so we took the opportunity to check out the new preview center. Personally, I really can’t wait for the Little Mermaid ride and Cars Land, though I’m of the camp that they should have named it Radiator Springs.

Once we met up with the gang, Monsters Inc. was the next ride on the agenda. The kids *love* this ride! Luckily for the adults, since we always end up riding it 2-3 times in a row, the line is always short and there’s no lack of new details to see each time.

After Monsters, we were all getting hungry, but instead of finding a place to eat our PB&J’s, my dad suggested we find somewhere indoors to dine. After a run-in with an unnecessarily rude security person as we left the baggage check area (we didn’t realize we had to take our name label out of the strollers, and she was none too patient with us about it), we made our way to ESPN Zone for some cheese fries and fresh air.

The break did a world of good; when we came out of the restaurant, we could actually take a deep breath! We were thinking we might have had to leave mid-day, but a lot of the smoke had lifted by the time we finished lunch, so we forged on. Throughout the rest of the day, the heavy smoke came in spurts, but for the most part it was bearable.

After lunch, we headed back to Disneyland, only to find that somewhere along the way, we had lost one of our not-yet-validated annual pass tickets! After a frantic search and several of us almost having heart attacks, Brian glanced over and noticed the pass on the ground about 10 feet away! He ran over and grabbed it, and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief!

Passes firmly in hand, we came to one of the most exciting parts of the day- validating our official annual passes for the first time ever! Ugly pictures aside, they’re really cool and we can’t wait to make good use of them. Thanks mom and dad!!!

With the freeways mostly closed, and everyone else staying inside away from the smoke, we almost had the place to ourselves most of the day. We did lots of shopping (tons of cute Christmas stuff!) and of course more rides: Space Mountain, Buzz, Pooh, and we even got to unexpectedly ride Nemo since the line was only 30 minutes long! One of the best things about this ride is that you can bring your strollers through the line with you, which is invaluable in a relatively long line with tired kids. This was the second time I had ridden Nemo, and I have to say it was better the second time around.

During one of our many shopping stops (did I mention the Christmas merchandise??), I pulled out my wallet and reached for my credit card… only to realize it was gone! After another frantic search and a few more heart attacks, I realized I hadn’t gotten it back from the cashier at the store in Tomorrowland about 4 hours earlier. A cashier in Frontierland made a few quick phone calls and verified that yes, they had been holding my credit card in the store where I left it. Phew!!! We also clutched the kids a little closer, lest we lose them too!

By about 8:30pm they were announcing the cancellation of the fireworks show, and we had made several phone calls to family and friends outside the park and determined that to try and drive home on the congested freeways would be sheer torture. We called back to the Anabella where we had checked out that morning and asked for the micechat rate again. They wouldn’t give it to us, but instead gave us an “evacuee” rate of $70/night for 2 queen beds, and they waived the parking fee. Good enough!

So after a long, smoky, incredibly fun day, we made our way back to the hotel and hit the sack. This time, both kids were out almost before their heads hit the pillows. And the good news is that this morning, the 5 and 14 freeways were completely open, so we zoomed home in about 90 minutes. We already have a trip planned for next month to see all the Christmas finery and hopefully ride the updated It’s A Small World. Can’t wait to see snow on Main Street!

Downtown Disney at night

The Mickey floral gets a little love from Tinkerbell

The sun on a smoky day. This was at about 3:00pm.

Smoky skies over the magic kingdom

These kids would turn into Legos if it were possible