Saturday, March 29, 2008

Family Trip to the "Zoo Park"

Rachel loves animals. And ever since the girls and I went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park the end of February, Rachel has asked over and over again to go to the 'Zoo Park', as she calls it. Today we went as a family and had a wonderful time. We've kinda done away with using the stroller, so Rachel walked just about the majority of the day and did a great job at all the walking we did. We started off our day by making our way to the lion exhibit. This exhibit was very impressive last time and we all were anxious to show Daddy. Our experience last time was awesome as our visit to the park was on a weekday and not a lot of people were there, today, it being a weekend and Spring Break for much of Southern California, there were a ton of people. We had to be patient to make our way to the front, but we got to see the lion family and that was fun. After the lions we did the tram ride again. Rachel isn't too big of a fan of this. I'm not sure why, but she gets kinda antsy and bored. Towards the end of the tram ride, the animal trainers were out feeding the cheetahs and that was cool. We had lunch on a patio that overlooked a playground area. So after the girls had finished eating, they went to play for a bit. And here Rachel demonstrates a family trait of sticking her tongue out when attempting to do something that takes some effort. LOL. After lunch we set out for a long walk to some of the exhibits that are off the beaten path. It was a nice walk on a dirt trail that led us to some areas that overlooked the valleys of the park and some beautiful scenery. At one part of the trail we crossed over a wooden bridge.Along our walk, we stopped at the elephant viewing area where we could see the African elephants up close. There have been about three elephants born over the last year. Rachel and I often check in on the elephants via the elephant web cam. So it was fun to see them in person. With these four elephants, we referred to the smallest elephant as Rachel, and the next smallest as Hannah. In addition to Hannah needing wanting to observe the lions again for her research project, Mommy wanted to see the butterfly exhibit that the "Zoo Park" is currently hosting, the tour includes orchids, but the butterflies are much more interesting. Rachel, having painted a butterfly at school last week also expressed an interest in seeing the butterflies. The line for the exhibit was really long the several times we passed by, so we kept putting it off and putting it off, and finally, as one of the things we did at the end of our day, we got in line, which had become shorter. The butterflies were difficult to capture with the camera, but this butterfly sat long enough for me to get some beautiful pictures. There were quite a few places on our walk today where you could look out the telescope, And for some reason Rachel was attracted to them at every stop. I took this picture when we stopped to observe the gorillas. The park closed at 5:00, so we as we made our way towards the exit, we stopped along the way to do a few fun things as well as take a look at the pretty birds. Rachel did not want to leave and was pretty sad as we were heading out. She loves seeing the animals. We're making plans to go to the San Diego Zoo and to Seaworld in June, when Steven takes a few weeks off for vacation. So she has something to look forward to as far as seeing the animals again soon. We stopped for dinner before hitting the freeway for the long drive home where the girls scarfed their dinner down. Apparently all the walking had caused them work up a good appetite. And despite all the walking and all we'd done, Rachel was bound and determined to 'play a game' when we got home. Knowing that she'd fall asleep at some point on the way home, I told her if she stayed awake all the way home, she could stay up. She was fast asleep shortly after that! LOL. We had a wonderful day together as a family, enjoying all the animals and the beautiful day, and look forward to another day like today!

Friday, March 28, 2008

An Afternoon Trip to Disneyland

After school this afternoon, we headed to Disneyland for the late afternoon and evening. A new parade debut a couple weeks ago and we've not had the chance to see it. We sat and waited for the parade and while it was really cute, you got really wet, which wouldn't be so bad in say oh the hot Southern California months, but it was a little too much this evening. Knowing that one of Rachel's preschool teachers and her family was at the Resort for the weekend, we made contact and met up with her. Her family was kinda enough to ride one more ride before heading out of the park and making their way back where they were staying for baths and bed. Rachel was really excited to see her teacher and ride Buzz Lightyear with her. We didn't stay real late, as it's officially Spring Break at the Disneyland Resort and there were A LOT of people there, although the couple of rides we did do, didn't have long wait times. It's been a few weeks since we've been and it was nice to go for a while!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In the Washing Machine

I had a repair man come to repair my washing machine today, as it's been leaking inside the tub.

As I walked down the hallway, I found the shell of my washer sitting in my hallway. Rachel thought it was funny. She thought it was even funnier when I put her in the washing machine!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

We were blessed with an extremely beautiful day for Easter Sunday, a little on the warm side (in the 90s), but we had blue skies, bright sun, and no wind. This year our church didn't have an early morning service at the park, but had one at the school auditorium where our regular church services are held. We went to the early service where there weren't a lot of people. Rachel and her friend Caleb were the only ones in the preschool class, they had one on one attention from the two teachers, which was special. Following our church service, donuts and muffins and fresh fruit was served, which provided a few minutes to sit and fellowship with our church family and friends. The girls all looked so pretty in new spring dresses and white shoes.I found the cutest little princess buckets this year that I filled with a few things for the girls, inside Rachel's bucket were a couple pair of sunglasses from the dollar store. The girl loves her sunglasses. Click on the picture to see how wide her eyes are behind the glasses. LOL. After a very yummy dinner, Uncle Bart hid eggs in our backyard for the four girls to hunt. They all had so much, and were a lot of fun to watch. By this egg hunt, it was the second and third egg hunts for the preschool girls, so they knew exactly what to do!As always, our day with family was nice and when the time came to say goodbye to her cousins, Rachel did better than I thought she would. I think she was pretty worn out from yesterday's party and getting up so early this morning. Hope everyone else had a blessed Easter as well.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

An Amazing Easter Party

We went to the most amazing Easter Party this afternoon. While all the festivities and activities had absolutely nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter, it was a very fun filled afternoon.

We were invited to this party because the family hosting the party has a little boy in Rachel's preschool class. While the entire class was invited, there were only four families that came. We spent the afternoon hanging out with those families and getting to know them better. This party was the 6th annual and apparently it is a highly anticipated event. There were between 200-300 people in attendance and everything was done so nicely and was very well organized. It appeared that some local businesses were very involved and supportive. Their front yard was HUGE, which was perfect for the shaded awnings with tables and chairs, and bounce houses, and playhouse, and food area, and believe it or not a couple portable potties, one clearly marked for the girls, and one for the boys.

Shortly after arriving, a potluck lunch was served. The hosting family supplied the hot dogs and hamburgers and then everyone else brought something to share. The amount of food was amazing. There were huge ice chests adequately supplied with water bottles, and juice boxes for the kids. Rachel didn't bother eating, as we had grabbed something on the way, not knowing when we'd eat, etc. Rachel's first stop was the bounce houses. Where she spent the majority of the time. If not there, then she could be found in the playhouse, complete with electricity and a doorbell that actually rang. Throughout the early part of the afternoon, the Easter Bunny made his appearance and had a basket of chocolate eggs he passed out. It was a very warm day and the chocolate eggs made for messy faces and hands, but that didn't stop Rachel from getting one every time he passed by her. Just like Santa Claus, we don't do the Easter Bunny, so he wasn't anything special to our kids, to them he's just a character like at Disneyland.There was a popcorn machine, and a sno cone machine, which helped keep you cool in the hot sun while you waited to have your face or hand painted by the clown. Rachel had a bunny painted on her hand, because she is afterall, in the Bouncing Bunny class. After the clown had spent time with the kids who desired to be painted, the next activity on the schedule (and I do mean schedule, they were extremely organized) was the egg hunt!! Every family that came was asked to bring 1-2 dozen eggs, filled plastic or real eggs, for the egg hunt. The kids were taken to the backyard of the house and divided up into age groups. The different age groups had different areas to hunt. I heard in passing that there were 2000 eggs to be found, I don't know if that's true or not, but seeing the amount of eggs that all the kids had, I wouldn't be surprised. I went with Rachel, and Steven with Hannah. Rachel had so much fun, of course this is her second egg hunt this week, so she's a professional now, skipping the eggs that were broken and empty. After all the eggs in her area had been found, we went and found Hannah and Daddy, and then settled on the grass in the shade to bust open the eggs! Rachel managed to get 22 plastic filled eggs. What followed the egg hunt was unbelievable. The invitation had asked if you wanted to participate in the gift raffle to please bring a little gift, etc. After talking to the Mommy hostess, she said anything fun from the dollar store would even be fine. We provided a plastic egg with play dough and molds. Again, the kids were divided up into age groups, and boys and girls. Each kid was then given a raffle ticket. And group by group, raffle numbers started being called. The first thing raffled off at the start of each age/gender group was a brand new bike that had been donated. In addition to the bike, there were gift cards to McDonalds, and cash. Through the afternoon, donations kept being made into a box and at the start of the raffle, there had been $800 donated to raffle off to the kids. There was also the prize blanket where a prize could be chosen. Essentially, every child left with something. Rachel won the chance to pick something from the prize blanket. She chose a gift bag with a giant bag of Starbursts inside. LOL. She was so happy. The raffle took a while, following the kids raffle, there was a raffle for adult prizes which included some beautiful anniversary clocks and $50 gift cards to restaurants, etc. Unlike both our children, we left empty handed from the raffle. At this time, it was after 6:00, and we'd been there since 1:00, the kids were dirty and tired and we decided to skip the pinata that came after the gift raffles. We gathered our things and said our goodbyes and home we went. The girls had sooo much fun and were so tired when we got home. Rachel fell asleep shortly after being put to bed.

Today was a very fun day with all the 'traditional' things associated with Easter.

And while the Easter Bunny, the egg hunts, and the candy is a lot of fun, it's not the true meaning of Easter, and tomorrow we will go to church and celebrate the real meaning of Easter...Christ dying on the cross and rising from the dead.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Having Fun with the Juicer

Tonight after dinner, I needed to juice some lemons, whereas the juicer must have looked like a ton of fun because the entire family got in on juicing. After finishing the big bag of lemons, we juiced the entire bag of oranges we'd recently been given. Rachel had fun juicing the oranges too, she put all her might into it, click on the picture and take a look at how messy her hands got in the process.

A Party and A Parade

The Easter Festivities continued today at preschool with an Easter Party, followed by a spring time parade, complete with bunnies, chicks, and painted eggs. Preschoolers are so cute!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Painting Ceramic Eggs

I received an email notification of a special going on at the local Color Me Mine studio to come in and paint ceramic Easter eggs. And that's what me and the girls did this afternoon after school. Rachel did a good job with the initial painting, and then got a little carried away with the decorating. But she had fund and we made eggs we'll have for a very long time!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Cousins Come to Play!!

As if the day couldn't possibly get any more fun, McKenzie and Haylee came home from preschool with us today. I had planned ahead and had a picnic lunch all packed and in the car. We went to the park and enjoyed the beautiful day. The plan was to eat, play on the play structures, and feed the ducks, but three little girls eventually had to go potty and there was no way I was taking all of them into the park restrooms, so we came home to use the clean potty. After a brief stop at home, we headed to Gramma's to drop off something, and then to get Hannah from school. All the girls were excited to see each other and looked forward to playing together. Here, is the view from my rear view mirror, four girls, all chatting and being silly.The rest of the afternoon was pretty much spent outside, enjoying the blue skies and warm weather, the swing set and all the other fun toys. There was an occasional need to take a rest and get some water too. After dinner, we went back to the park and fed the ducks. Well, there were a few ducks, but mostly these little black duck wannabes. The girls had fun and we went through two loaves of bread, and a half a bag of popcorn. Following our trip to the park, it was home for baths for four very dirty little girlies. And time to unwind by watching a movie. Rachel was very sad to see her cousins leave when Uncle Robbie and Auntie came to pick them up. But she'll seen them soon, there's school on Thursday, and Easter on Sunday!

Let The Easter Festivities Begin...

Everyday is a fun day at preschool, but today, was the egg hunt! The kids all had such a fun time, I know, I worked at the preschool today helping hide all the eggs and making sure the kids only found four eggs each.

First, the kids went on a walk through the preschool grounds, reading clues as to where the Easter Bunny left hide their eggs...And then, they spotted the bunny tracks on the floor leading out to the front lawn where so many eggs had been hidden that everyone got to find four eggs. The eggs were filled with lots of goodies and fun things. It was a great way to start off the weeks festivities. Thursday is their Easter party and springtime parade.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Enjoying the Evening

Daylight Savings Time means it staying lighter longer after dinner, and with the weather so beautiful these days, it was great for taking a walk around the block. What finishes off a day better than following up our walk with a trip to Dairy Queen for ice cream! Ahhhh, the perfect way to end the day!

Fun Happenings at Preschool

For weeks, Rachel has been asking to stay for Lunch Bunch at preschool. She loves me packing her lunch and staying for a couple of extra hours. If it didn't cost a little extra, and didn't mean being so hurried with picking her up at 2:00 and making it clear to the other end of town to pick up Hannah for her 2:15 dismissal, I'd probably do it more often, she loves it that much! So here she is, dawning Hannah's old backpack and carrying her lunch box, also a hand me down of Hannah's. An exciting thing was happening at preschool today...SNOW! Snow days were originally scheduled back in January, but due to all the rain we kept getting, the snow had to be rescheduled. And finally, we had a beautiful day and the snow day happened! Here is a pretty picture of the snow this morning, before anyone was allowed to enter the area. It was so pretty and fluffy, and clean!Having brought a pair of snow pants, a heavy jacket, and a change of clothes just in case, Rachel was ready to play ini the snow! But first, she had to be signed in and wait for her classes turn to play. Upon entering into her class, there was lots to do because of all the fun things they do this time of year for Easter. Here, Rachel and fellow preschool mates dawn their paint aprons and get ready to dye broken egg shells to paste onto a paper and make a pretty picture. After a few more pictures, our goodbyes were said and I went on my merry way, with two extra hours of a kid free morning!After a wonderful morning of Mom/Daughter time, with my own Mom, we returned to pick up Rachel to find her playing in the snow. By now, after a morning of preschoolers tramping and stomping, the snow was packed and dirty. But still obviously was bringing a lot of joy to the preschoolers who were so lucky to be left for Lunch Bunch and got two extra hours to play! Where else can you play in the snow, in short sleeves besides good ole Southern California?!?!Rachel had played hard all morning, you could tell that by how quiet she was in the car ride to get Hannah from school. But once both the girls were home, she found her second wind and kept on going, just like the Energizer Bunny!