Sunday, November 30, 2008

Disneyland - Friday 11/21

We got back from LA on Tuesday and left the next morning for Mobile. Then we came home Friday night, actually a day earlier than expected, because I'm sick. I don't know what I've got, but it's nasty. My throat is so swollen you can actually see the lump in my neck. I'm miserable. Fortunately Perry has been great with the girls and I've been able to get some rest, in between getting the tree, putting up the lights, and washing all the clothes from our trip.
But I do want to post about our vacation, so I'll start at the beginning. We picked the girls up from school early on Thursday and headed for the airport for our 3:20 flight. S&A were so cute with their backpacks walking through the airport; they've become seasoned travelers and I was very proud of them. Our flight to Atlanta was uneventful, and we ate dinner in the airport before boarding our flight to LA. Due to strong headwinds, our flight was scheduled to take over 4 hours, and I convinced the girls that it was bedtime since we'd already eaten dinner and it was dark. So, Sarah was curled up and asleep before we took off. Abby wanted to see the lights at night, so she didn't settle down until we reached our cruising altitude, but then she was out too. They both slept great and didn't wake up until we got just outside LA. Then they were awake and excited to see all the lights of the city.
When we got to LA, we sent Perry to get the car while we went to wait for the luggage. I'm posting that to remind myself to NEVER make that mistake again. It took him over an hour to get on the shuttle bus, get the car, then make his way back to us. We should have just all gone together. Anyway, we finally arrived at Heidi's house in Long Beach around 10:30pm. We all went to bed, and just as I predicted, the girls were awake at 4:40am due to the time change. They had some time to play with Heidi's kids which was great, but I was concerned about how tired they would be at Disneyland!
Actually, they did really great all day at the park. We got there at 9am, and they didn't get really tired until after 5, which I thought was great. We had a fantastic time with Lee & Gayle and their kids Kieth & Kaylee. Disneyland isn't as magical as DisneyWorld, mostly due to the cast members (employees). In Orlando, everyone goes overboard to make your visit perfect. But in Anaheim, they just don't seem to go to the same lengths to make the magic. But it's still a fabulous place.
I was very disappointed by a new attraction called Pixie Hollow. In the past, Tinkerbell has not been available for meet and greets because she's a pixie, and therefore very tiny. But everyone has been buzzing about this new place in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, where you'll shrink down to pixie size and be able to meet Tink and her friends. Well, Disney blew it. I was expecting some pixie dust, a transforming experience, something. There was nothing to make it magical. We stood in line for an hour, then went from the line to 30-foot-tall grass and flowers, with nothing to help us make the transition. It wasn't magical at all. We met Silvermist and Fawn, and then Tinkerbell. I think Tink might have been hung over; she wasn't very cute or happy. It could have been, should have been, so much better.
The girls' favorite rides were Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Railroad, as usual. I'd hoped to ride the Matterhorn, and Abby had been talking about it since last year, but she chickened out. I think they'd both love it, but they're scared of the Abominable Snowman.

My favorite ride was Small World, because they had just opened it after a 9-month renovation, and it had the Christmas overlay, so it was incredible. I'll post the video soon, but I'll go ahead and warn you that it's 10 minutes long!
After dinner, we headed back to Heidi's house for some much-needed sleep. The girls got a head-start in the car. They needed it, since they would wake up at 4:40 again the next day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We're Back

What an awesome, totally exhausting trip! We had so much fun with our friends...Perry and I loved hanging with my old buddies, and the girls loved hanging with all the kids, and we were all sad to leave. I have so much to post, but I'm wiped out. We left Lee & Gayle's house at 5am, and didn't get to our house until 6pm. The girls are in bed, and I've been catching up on emails, but a long blog post will have to wait.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Excited

I slept 10 hours and feel much better. I got up early to get started on my mental list (because I never got around to writing it down.) I think we've gotten it all done and we're ready to go. The girls are so excited; Sarah came downstairs at 5:30 holding a picture of herself and her "best friend LauraBeth." She asked me to pack it, in case she gets homesick. So sweet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Goodnight

Well, I still have a load of clothes to wash, and I haven't started packing, but my throat is swollen and my whole body is aching so I'm going to take some Nyquil and go to bed. I'm confident that a good night's sleep will cure what ails me. It has to.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Counting Down

Today I booked our rental car, got my hair cut (again, because last week's cut was a disaster), printed out all our flight info, car rental info, directions, etc., made pillowcases for the girls' travel pillows because I couldn't find the ones I bought, found a housesitter/cat sitter, checked out the TSA website to see if I could carry on the girls' safety scissors (the answer is yes, and I won $10 from Perry on that bet!), and packed the girls' backpacks with lots of fun, time-consuming activities for the flight. My lack of planning is starting to catch up with me and now I'm getting a little stressed. Tomorrow I have school meetings all morning and a Daisies meeting for lunch, so I won't have much time to get things done. I still need to wash about 4 loads of clothes, pack my carry-on with snacks and other essentials, and pack suitcases. I know we'll get it all done, we always do. But traveling is hard work!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kidspell

Just an update on the girls' writing:

Last week, Sarah brought home these sentences that she wrote in sticker spelling:


the ran dyr is fliing the reindeer is flying

sat cloz is majik santa claus is magic

the pupes eor koit the puppies are cute

the lef is pride the leaf is pretty (it took me a minute to get this one!)

the str is sprkle the star is sparkly

the pine is mine the penny is money (I thought she was being possessive, but then I remembered kidspell!)

the kaw mas mik the cow makes milk

And Abby drew a picture with 3 unicorns, and gave them all names:

diamnd, cuty, dazleg diamond, cutie, dazzling


Oh, and a little Abby story. At computer lab this week, Mrs. S asked the kids to draw something related to Thanksgiving, such as a turkey or a pilgrim or the Mayflower. Abby drew a turkey, and then she put a pink tutu on it. That's my girl!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beautiful Sunday

What a beautiful fall day. We started our morning with church, then after lunch and a nap we went to a Backyard Adventure birthday party for one of Sarah's classmates. They had a big inflatable slide and tons of kids running around, so it was fun.

While we were at the party, Perry took the girls "masterpieces" to California Pizza Kitchen. We ate there one night last week, and our server gave empty pizza boxes to the girls and asked them to decorate them. He said they are going to be hung up in the restaurant, so if you're local, be sure to look for Sarah's abstract creation and Abby's butterfly. I can't believe that I forgot to take pictures of their finished boxes; they really were beautiful.




Saturday, November 15, 2008

Charades

Get ready for a laugh. My girls LOVE to play charades. Sarah is pretty good at it, but Abby's mind just works differently than most people, I think. She doesn't think about acting out how to use an object or how act like a certain animal, she actually becomes the object or animal. Just watch, and you'll see what I mean.



Sarah's pretty funny, too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Flashback - Many Faces

When the girls were babies, I liked to take pictures of all their different facial expressions. I remember laughing about "the many faces of Sarah Bay." Here's a little montage for your weekly walk down memory lane.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Puppies

Our neighbor's dog had puppies and we got to see them yesterday, when they were only 2 days old. They're so little and pink, and their eyes aren't open yet. The girls loved them, and Abby just wanted to stay and watch them "FOREVER". We loved their little squeaks, and watching them root around to find their mommy. Three boys and two girls. I'm SHOCKED that S&A haven't started begging for us to take one home; maybe it just hasn't occurred to them yet. But the answer is no. The memory of Bailey's puppy days still lingers...
(Click on the picture to see one of their sweet little faces)


Obviously I was very excited about the visit:


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Introducing...

Abigail and Sarah Catherine.
Yesterday we had the day off, so I took the girls to get haircuts, (note their new cutie-girl cuts in the pictures) and then we ran errands. While we were eating lunch, Abby told me that her teacher's daughter's name is Abigail, which is almost the same as her name. I told her that it's actually exactly the same, because her real name is Abigail. Of course she knew this, or at least I think she should, since I call her "Abigail Grace" whenever she's in trouble, but I guess she hadn't put it all together. Anyway, she was VERY excited to find out that her REAL name is Abigail, and she decided that she would be Abigail from now on. Sarah of course then wanted to know what her real name is. I was tempted to tell her "Sarahgail," since that's what she used to think (I'll explain that in a minute), but I just said "Sarah Catherine." So she decided that she would go by Sarah Catherine from now on. They asked me to write out their names and put them in their folders for school so they could learn how to spell them. I figure it will only take a day before they realize that it's much easier to be just "Abby" and "Sarah". But, I was up at school this morning for computer lab, and Abby had already told her whole class that her real name is Abigail. We'll see.
And about "Sarahgail"...when the girls were 3 or 4, Abby got into trouble much more often than Sarah. It seems like I was using my stern mommy voice a lot, calling "Abigail Grace" whenever she was being defiant. One day Sarah asked, "Is my name Sarahgail Grace?" I don't think she'd ever heard me yell "Sarah Catherine", so she didn't know what her name was!
These pictures are from 6am this morning, when they decided to "rock out" in the kitchen.

Monday, November 10, 2008

10 Days to LaLa Land!

We're going to LA in 10 days, and I'm feeling totally unprepared. Normally by now I would have thought about what to take on the plane and made a list of what I need to buy, made a packing list, planned each day of our trip, created a touring plan for Disneyland, etc. But as of today I have done NONE of that. I haven't even booked a rental car. I'm not sure what's going on with me; I've been busy, sure, and Perry's been traveling a lot so that has limited my free time, but I can't believe how little thought I've given to such a big trip. I'm not worried about it, though. Going to LA feels like going home, and I know that we will be showered with love and well taken-care of, so really all I need to worry about is surviving the flights. That's such a great feeling. I love my LA friends.


Here's a pic of the "gang" last year at Disneyland. Heidi and her kids won't be able to go this year, because of school, but I'll try to get all 6 of them lined up for a pic again while we're out there. I'm excited about seeing how they all get along this year. Last year they all played great together (well, Abby and Kaylee had some issues because they both like to be the boss, but nothing major), and Sarah had a little crush on Ronnie. I wonder what it will be like this year, and we all wonder how it will be when they're teenagers!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Tallest Tree in the World



For a long time now, Abby has talked about the "tallest tree in the world." She's pointed it out before, but I didn't pay much attention. She told me where it was (behind the big parking lot down the street), but I didn't pay much attention. Once we had a conversation about the Redwoods in California, and how big they are. But then, one day, I saw THE TREE - the one she thinks is the tallest tree in the world. It's behind the shopping center on the corner of 31 and 150. And it's NOT REAL!!!! I find this so bizarre - this is a cell phone tower, I guess, disguised as a tree. Do they do this in an effort to be "green," responsible corporate citizens? Do they think they're fooling anyone (other than 5-year-olds)? So strange.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Crafty Saturday


Every year we create Thankful Trees during the month of November. I trace arms and hands to create the tree and branches, and then each day we add a new leaf to the tree that says something we're thankful for. This is our third year to do this, and I love looking back at their old trees. Of course they're always thankful for the standard "mom, dad, sister, family, God, etc., but they always come up with some interesting things too. This week Abby wrote "the things that I have" and "earth, " while Sarah wrote "water" and "bed."

The girls have really been enjoying the fall colors - the trees are gorgeous right now. This morning they went out back and collected pretty leaves, then came in and made "leaf turkeys." I love it when they come up with the craft idea and can do it all by themselves, and I was very impressed with their creations. (Abby's is on the left, and Sarah's is on the right.)










We also started our Christmas crafts today. I have a bunch of ideas this year, so I thought we should do a little each weekend so we won't get overloaded. Today we started painting ornaments for their friends.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Flashback

I created a slideshow for today's flashback. I call it, simply, "Hair." Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Sweet Email

I just got this email from Sarah's teacher. The subject is "from sarah":

Hi mom iam god at sgioll ihop u hav a wudfl day love sarah

How sweet is that?!!! I can just imagine her sitting at the computer, sending me a letter. Awesome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Lateral "S"

Today I had a meeting at school with the Speech Therapist, to discuss Abby. Both Perry and Abby's teacher have noticed a speech issue, called a lateral s, that makes her "s" sound more like a "sh". I really don't notice it, but I had a lisp as a child and still struggle with my "s" sound sometimes, so my ear probably isn't the best. But anyway, she was screened for speech, and she "failed", which just means that now she'll be formally evaluated for possible speech therapy. It's evidently very hard to get speech services through the school system these days; the problem can't be "developmental" and it has to interfere with the child's learning - very tough criteria. But just the process of evaluating her, which could be stretched out over many sessions in a 60-day window, could help her self-correct. The other great thing that came out of this meeting was a decision to get the Occupational Therapist to evaluate her, too, because she has poor fine motor skills and is falling behind her peers in writing. She struggles to hold a pencil correctly and gets frustrated when we try to help her. I'm trying lots of new exercises with her at home, and her teacher is working on it too, but it will be great to hear an expert's opinion about it.
I'll update more on this when I get the results of her evaluation, but that might take awhile.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pepsi Cola

I got a Flip camcorder recently and I LOVE it! It's totally user-friendly and it's the size of my phone. Here's a clip of the girls doing a little dance that Sarah learned at school.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Politics in Elementary School

Today the girls got off the bus with "I Voted" stickers. Every student at their school got to vote today. We really haven't discussed the election with them; we are learning about Presidents and we've talked about the two candidates, but we haven't told them who we're voting for or why. So I was very curious to find out who they voted for. Abby told me that she voted for McCain. When I asked why, she said that "M" was closer to "A" for Abby. Sarah said she voted for McCain because she saw his picture and he looked like a nice man. I think those are both very good reasons for kindergartners. I just don't think they're ready for grown-up discussions about politics, and I get very disturbed by the kids their age who are spouting their parents' propaganda. There's one child in Sarah's class who had this conversation with me last week:
kid: "Mrs. Turner, did you know that there are Democrats in this world? They're bad people, and they're in this world."
me: "Yes, there are Democrats in this world, but they're not bad people. They believe different things than what your parents believe, but that doesn't mean they're bad people."
kid: "You're kidding me, I know you are. Because they are bad people. They want Obama to be President, and he's a very bad guy."
me: "Obama is not a bad guy, and I'm not kidding you. There are two very good men who love our country very much, and they both want to be President. Some people like Obama and want him to be President, while other people like McCain."
kid: "I know you're kidding me."
me: "Whatever."

Another kid told Abby that McCain kills animals. Huh?

Personally, I'll just be glad when it's over.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Moss Rock Festival

Yesterday was spectacular. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we decided that we needed to do something outside. Unfortunately I had a migraine, but I managed to shake it after a nap, and we headed off in the Jeep to the Moss Rock Festival, "Celebrating Nature, Open Spaces & Eco-Ideas through ART & DESIGN." Sounded interesting, and it was!
We checked out all the booths with cool artwork, crafts, and eco-ideas, and even thought about buying a couple of things. We're still looking for artwork to hang over our sofa, but Perry and I are having a hard time agreeing on the right piece (or pieces). I think we'll just know it when we see it. The girls enjoyed seeing the recycled art creations done by local schools, we got to pet lots of cute little doggies (Abby's favorite thing at any festival), and we had a snack on the lawn while we listened to a live band. The girls practiced their gymnastics across the lawn, chased each other, and had a blast.
The Jeep ride home was a little cool, but we all enjoyed it. What a perfect afternoon!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween and Friday Flashback

We had a great night last night. We went trick-or-treating early with the "street kids" and then came home and sat on the front porch to hand out candy. We saw so many friends and cute costumes and really had an awesome time. I think the girls liked handing out the candy more than collecting it. We had some small boxes of raisins leftover from a cooking project, and the girls don't like raisins, so I put them in the candy bowl. Whenever a big kid came up without a costume, Abby would give them raisins. It was really funny. What wasn't funny was Perry asking me to get him another beer (his 2nd), and Sarah getting upset because beer is alcohol and alcohol is a drug. Perry was not amused.

As a final Halloween flashback, here's a pic of the "street kids" last year, and a scary pic of our scary, molded jack-o-lantern last year. We didn't even carve any this year. Oh well, there just wasn't time.