Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Flashback

Here's a couple of pics from Christmas 2006. Look - there's Ginger!!!! For those of you who don't know, Ginger is Sarah's special animal friend who sleeps with her every night. She's not quite as white as she used to be, but she's definitely more loved after all this time...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dragon Parade

I haven't uploaded my pics yet, but Sarah's teacher sent me these cool pics of their dragon parade today. She said the kids loved it! That's Sarah holding the mask, and her sweet friend Emma behind her. Emma's moving over the holidays, and we're so sad. She's an awesome kid and I love her mommy!

Today I've helped the girls finish their gifts for their classmates, made more cookies for teachers and staff at school, bought a few presents, and made treats for Abby's class party. My sister had an interesting observation: I'm in panic mode, because I only have 1 1/2 days of school left, and then it will be hard to get anything else done. As a teacher, she's impatiently counting the hours until school lets out, so that she can finally get things done.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Christmas Craziness

Yesterday I finished preparing for Sarah's party at school. Her class had a Chinese New Year party. I made 18 red pockets with gold stitching to hold chopsticks, stuffed red envelopes with red and gold chocolate Chinese coins for favors (in the Chinese tradition of giving red envelopes with coins for good luck), finished making gold place mats for everyone - these were adorable with a picture of each child dressed in Chinese attire), and made a dragon mask for a dragon parade. Oh, and I also made cookies yesterday to give to Sarah's teacher. Who knew I was so crafty? The party was awesome and I'll add some pics later.
Tonight I'm working on tote bags to give to all the Daisies on Friday when we go caroling. I'm doing an iron-on transfer, which I've never done before but there's always a first.
Tomorrow I need to make more cookies to give to some friends, make a treat for Abby's school party on Thursday, wrap more presents, and finalize my shopping list. I'm almost finished, but not quite. Tomorrow I also need to get the girls to finish decorating the ornaments that they made for their friends, so I can get them into gift bags and we can distribute them. And...sometime this week I need to get our Christmas cards addressed!
This is such a busy time of year. But sitting here, looking at our beautiful tree with all the quirky ornaments, I realize that I love all the busy-ness of Christmas. As Perry always says, it will all get done. It always does. And I will love almost every minute of it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Preparations

What a weekend! Yesterday we went to the Galleria to see Santa. I know, the Galleria on a Saturday morning two weekends before Christmas...not a very smart idea! But we just haven't had time to go, and we HAD to get a Santa pic! I usually like the Santa at the Galleria, but this one seemed rather scruffy to me. I had already decided to tell Sarah that I thought he was probably a helper, but she didn't ask. Well, she did ask how he could be at the mall when we had JUST passed him on the side of the road on the way to the mall, but she didn't ask which one was real. Anyway, this turned out to be a pretty random Santa visit. When he arrived at 10am, the workers started the music, and guess what it was? Jingle Bells? Here Comes Santa Claus? No... it was Hey Macarena! I kept waiting for him to do the dance but it never happened. Strange.

After pictures, we went and painted Christmas plates. I have one that I did when I was 5, so I wanted the girls to do one this year. They didn't want to do handprints; they both wanted to paint freehand. Abby did a tree, and Sarah did Santa and an elf, or two elves, I'm not sure. But they both looked cute.

Later we wrapped presents, and worked on the ornaments that they're making for all their friends, and stuffed Christmas cards. We ended the festivities with a visit to CPK. Yum. Once again, though, the Galleria for a dinner destination probably wasn't a smart choice. The traffic was so thick that the police were directing traffic at all the lights. We actually witnessed one stressed-out cop throw his flashlight at one car who tried to ignore his directions. Crazy.

Today we went to church, and tonight we rode the Polar Express train in Calera. It was cute, and their Santa was the best I've ever seen, but I doubt we'll do it again. It was probably a "once in a lifetime" thing. There was a lot of waiting around. Wait to get on the train. Wait for the train to start. Wait to get to the North Pole. (And there wasn't any snow at the North Pole, so Sarah didn't buy it.) Wait for the elves. Wait for Santa. Waiting isn't one of our strengths...

Friday, December 12, 2008


Sarah was home sick today. That stomach virus AGAIN - the 3rd time this year. But she actually felt much better today after being sick all night, so we had a good day running errands and wrapping presents, and talking...

Sarah has had so many questions lately. Some that I'm just not ready for yet.
Sarah: "Mom, is there more than one Santa Claus?"
Me (stalling for time, squirming in my seat): "Why do you ask?"
S: "Well, in our pictures on Santa's lap, he doesn't look the same every year. Sometimes his beard was too short. I don't think the ones with the short beard are really him."
Me: "Santa is very busy, especially in December. So he has helpers that he trains, and sometimes it's Santa's helper when you get your picture taken."
S: "Then they're tricking us."
Me: "They're not trying to trick you. All of Santa's helpers have been trained by him, and they all talk to him every day to tell him who they saw. They're all magical because Santa shares his magic with them. And to keep it magical, you never know if it's the real Santa or one of his special helpers."

And later...
S: "Mom, do you have to pay for the presents that Santa brings us?"
Me: "Sometimes you have to pay for something, if he's bringing something that the elves can't make or something like that."
S: "Can you pay him so you can get more presents?"

And, at school, they're learning about Holidays Around the World. One of the teachers is teaching about Israel, and they've learned about Jewish people and Hanukkah. So today Sarah asked me what Jewish people are. At first I just tried to gloss over it by just telling her that Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas, but the questions continued, and before I knew it, I was getting into a full discussion about Christians and Jews and Jesus as the Son of God. I'll admit that I was a little hesitant to get into this at such an early age, especially during the Christmas season. I mean, I'm telling her that Jewish people don't believe that Jesus is God's Son. And I don't want her to start questioning her religion the same way she's questioning Santa Claus. Not now, not yet! I know I'm overanalyzing, but I was very careful with my choice of words because she's only FIVE!!! I guided our discussion to people we know who are Jewish (well, OK, the one person she knows who is Jewish - Uncle Todd) - and she wanted to know why he sends Christmas presents when he doesn't celebrate Christmas. Man, this girl is THINKING! Later she asked me if Jewish people choose to be Jewish or if they're born that way. What a mature question!

If the questions are this hard at 5, I can't imagine what they'll be like in a few years. But I do hope they keep coming. I love that she's not afraid to ask.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have an Elf-ish Christmas!

I don't want to embed this video because the site wants my blogger password.! But it is hilarious, so just click on this link.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread Houses

On Friday, Abby's class made gingerbread houses. Lots of parents came to help, and we had so much fun decorating and sneaking little bites of candy. I was really impressed with this project. All the kids made patterns and got very creative with the assorted candies. Abby was very proud of her house!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


The girls entered projects in the school Expo. They could do a science project, or data collection, or history, or fine arts. I gave them several ideas, and I really thought Sarah would decide to do something with her shell collection. But, Abby wanted to do something "pretty," so she decided to do a rainbow experiment. Sarah tossed around several ideas and finally decided to write a poem and make it into a book.
Abby drew a rainbow in poster board; all the colors were in the proper order, except that she added pink between the red and the orange because it HAD to have pink in it!. We printed a picture of a double rainbow we saw a few weeks ago, and then we bought a prism to make a rainbow. But we couldn't make it work. I guess it works best in a dark room, and maybe we could have made it work with a box, but I knew that Abby wouldn't be happy with that. She wanted to show off her rainbow. So I got a CD and showed her how it could make a rainbow. At first, she wasn't impressed; she said it was "cheating" because she could see a rainbow even without the flashlight. We had to go into a dark room and show her that there was only a rainbow in the light. Then she was happy. She taped the CD onto the poster board and set up the flashlight. DONE. Except that she needed to write a page outlining her hypothesis and process and conclusion. It took her 2 hours to write that page - she did not want to do it. Finally it was done, and it looked awesome. So awesome, in fact, that she won 3rd place in her category.
Sarah wrote a poem called "Reindeer's Christmas Cheer." She made it up and I wrote it down as she talked. Then she took each stanza and put it on a page and drew a reindeer on each page and created a big book. It was awesome. I took it to Kinkos to get it bound, which was a debacle, but it all worked out. She won 2nd place in her category.
All in all, it was a great experience for them. Really the first contest they ever entered. I was so proud of the way they worked on their projects and took pride in making them "perfect."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Flashback - LA February 2002

Monday - California Adventure

On Monday, we went to California Adventure, which is the other Disney park in Anaheim, right next to Disneyland. I'd never been there before, and had read mixed reviews, so we actually talked about not going and just hanging out at the beach or something, but finally we decided to go. I'm so glad we did - we had a blast! We only stayed about 5 hours, but that was OK because there were a lot of rides we'd done before, in Orlando, and it's not a huge park anyway, so we didn't miss much.

They have one ride called the Grizzly River Run, and it's like Kali Rapid River in Animal Kingdom. We were unprepared, though. No ponchos. Abby got soaked. Completely soaked. There wasn't a dry inch anywhere on her. Fortunately I had a pair of shorts that she usually wears under her skirts, so I put that on her and put on her jacket, after stripping off every inch of her dripping wet clothes! We didn't learn our lesson, though, and rode it again before we left the park. This time I got the worst of it, and it was getting cold outside. No big deal, though, because we were on our way out of the park.

It was a great day. And we made it back to Lee & Gayle's in time for dinner with Toddles. Even better.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I was so bummed that I forgot my camera this day. It was a great day. We went to see the new Disney film "Bolt" at the El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. It was right across the street from Graumann's Chinese Theatre, and the girls loved seeing all the handprints in the concrete. They also loved the stars on Hollywood Blvd.; we saw Julie Andrews and Tom Hanks and several others that they knew. The movie was really great, and they had a live Disney stage show before the movie with lots of Disney characters and all the princesses. Of course all the little girlies loved that. When we were leaving, we spotted the Hollywood sign, and they were excited about that.

That night we had dinner at Ron & Diane's house. My favorite - Diane's famous pasta and meatballs. All the kids played great together and it was great to just hang out and catch up with Ron & Diane. I also loved seeing Mamere - she's 91! Amazing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

LA - Day 2

It's taking me awhile to catch up on my blogging - I just don't feel 100% yet, and I'm overwhelmed with school projects and Christmas shopping because of all the days I was sick. But enough whining...let's move on to:
Saturday in LA
We hung out with Heidi's family in Long Beach that morning. The kids played great together, and S&A loved picking oranges, lemons, and tangerines off the trees in the backyard. They also loved having doughnuts for breakfast, which cracked me up because Heidi is such a healthy California girl who never had NEVER been to the doughnut store one block from her house until we showed up and corrupted her!
We went to a friend's birthday party at a local park for a little while, but the 4:40am wakeup was starting to catch up with the girls, and they were getting cranky, so we decided to pack up and head to Hermosa Beach. But first...In & Out Burgers! Oh how I miss that In & Out cheeseburger, animal-style! The girls loved it too.
We had so much fun at Andrea's house. Eleanna is also in kindergarten, and she and S&A had a blast making crafts and playing dress-up. We also had a wonderful homemade dinner and lots and lots of cupcakes. Purple cupcakes.
We left the beach and headed up to Encino to stay with Lee & Gayle. Unfortunately we also got to be a part of the quintessential LA experience: traffic on the 405. It was awful. Both girls slept in the backseat, and when we finally pulled up in front of their house, Abby asked, "Whose house are we at now?" She's such a trooper. Sarah never woke up - we took her in and put her on the couch, where the crazy dogs jumped all over her and barked and fought, and there was absolute chaos in the house, and she never even flinched. Finally Perry carried her up to bed, where she slept until 7am. She needed it!