Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rainy days and Mondays

We're on our second day of rain... our back yard is turning into a lake. During a brief lull in the rain this afternoon, the kids went out and stomped around in the large puddle that makes up half of our patio (when I say large, I mean large.... a good 15-20 feet long!). We didn't let the rain get us down, though. To celebrate Brian's homecoming, we had a good homecooked meal and then went to see Eight Below. Oh. My. Word. I wasn't expecting to like this movie as much as I did. It was really good. Word of warning for the emotionally sensitive: bring as much Kleenex as you can comfortably carry. Concession stand napkins will do in a pinch, but then you have to watch out for splinters. Just consider yourself warned. You will be drawn into this movie and it will be hard to forget. Even on the ride home, I was still wiping my eyes.

The movie is rated a very mild PG. I had to check out my newest online source for family entertainment research, Family Media Guide, to figure out just why it got a PG rating. (I think this is going to be one I stick with... it's better than ScreenIt.) The language was mild... 4 h*lls, 1 d*mn, and 2 uses of God (not in combination with another word). I think the main reason for the rating was for some of the intense moments, when the lives of humans and/or dogs was at stake.

One last comment about the movie: the scenery is breathtaking. I'm not much into cold and snow, but after seeing this movie, I wonder if we shouldn't do an Alaska trip sometime.

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's Friday, so it must be movie night

Yeah, I know. We watch an awful lot of movies. Not much else to do around here. I'd prefer hanging out at my best friend's house.... making dinner or ordering pizza, playing some games. But there's that little matter of 1600+ miles separating us. So the kids and I go to the movies.

I took the 3 youngest to see Doogal this afternoon. Cute movie. Not as "pure" as Curious George, but still a solid G rating. The kids got a kick out of the references to other movies. Our drive home was full of much discussion of characters and favorite parts, unlike the trip home after Curious George. Jon Stewart made a great villain and I loved William H. Macy's Brian the snail. I wonder if the character was written for him.... it was classic Bill Macy.

I've talked to my Brian (who has actually been writing at his blog while gone) a few times today. Poor guy. Today was a short day for the conference so his boss/partner dragged him to Laguna Beach for the afternoon/evening. He had to walk along the beach and browse shops and art galleries in the town. And worst of all... they were eating dinner in a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He's going to need a vacation when he gets back. (Oh Donna.... I forgot the symbols for sarcasm. Oh well.) I sure hope he can stand 2 more days of being down there. (And Brian, if you read this... I'm not mad. Much. *G*)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Happy Humpday

I'm a single woman again this week. Brian left this morning for an educators' conference in Newport Beach (sucks to be him, doesn't it?). He won't be back till Monday. So that leaves me 5 days to keep the house clean, everyone in line, and maybe have some fun to boot. Tonight is church; we're having dinner at the building at 6, followed by some new discussion groups. Then I'll have praise team rehearsal at 7:30.

The kids are all healthy now. Joel was better by Sunday. He wound up sleeping all afternoon and evening Saturday, waking up for a bit and eating some toast, and then sleeping again the rest of the night. He felt fine the next day, but Emily felt queasy. She stayed home from church, but never got sick. She was feeling better by that afternoon. No one else got sick. :o)

I took Joel and Halle to see Curious George on Monday. It was cute. They said they liked it, but when I asked them to tell me what their favorite part was, neither had an answer. Guess that tells you how bland it was. Most movies, they have no problem coming up with their favorite part. I will say that it is one movie that shouldn't have anything to offend anyone in it. You know how most kids' movies today have plenty of dialogue or visual humor for the adults... none of that in this one. It is a true kids' movie. Anyhow, for me, the best part was the music. I'll have to check out the soundtrack and see who it was.

Oh joy... Halle and Joel are in the middle of a knock-down dragout. Oh, Noah intervened. More joy. Welcome to my world.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What goes down must come up

I neglected to mention that Halle has been sick the last two days. She has kept precious little on her stomach. I think by last night she was doing better. However, Joel woke up around 2 a.m. with what appears to be the same malady. He changed clothes and got in bed between Brian and me. I had a hard time falling asleep after that, but shortly after I did, around 4 a.m., I was awakened by a warm, wet feeling on my back. So I changed my clothes, Joel changed his, Brian stripped the bed and I started laundry. I haven't been back to bed yet. I'm washing everything on "sanitary" mode, which is an almost 2-hour wash cycle. The 1st load is in the dryer (Joel's blankets from his first episode). The second load is in the wash. Thankfully, no carpeted areas have been affected, but only the tile floors, which I have already used the Swiffer Wet Jet on.

I think I should go out and get an industrial-sized bottle of Purel and bathe everyone in it.


In 2 hours, Noah has little league "skills assessment". I had to buy him cleats earlier this week, being notified in an email that they were required. This will be his first experience playing baseball. I hope it's a good one. It sounds very competitive, what with the skills assessment being used by the "managers" to choose their teams. Hopefully this isn't a bad thing and he will learn a lot and still have fun.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blah-ging break

I know it's been a few days. Besides just being a tad busy, I suppose I've been having a little case of the blahs. I won't complain about the weather, because I know there are plenty of you who are a lot colder than we are, but after having some warm, sunny days and then having the temps drop 20 degrees.... well, it's just not fun. Plays havoc with the allergies/sinuses, too.

I notice by looking at the calendar that we've been out here 8 1/2 months. Things aren't much different than they were at the beginning. We are as much "strangers in a strange land" as we were in June. We're beginning to look at home rentals in other areas, because we aren't too happy with the neighborhood here.... its lack of suitable playmates for the kids or activities for them. So the dilemma that presents itself is: how do we decide where to live? Do we move closer to base and wind up farther from the church we're attending? Do we move closer to the church and then give Brian a much longer and at times, unsafe, commute to work 5 days a week? Do we move to Sacramento, where housing costs are a bit less, still giving Brian a longer commute than now (albeit with no toll to pay), and have to find a new church?

Our lease is up April 30th. I'm praying that we'll find an answer soon.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Word clouds

Make your own at Snapshirts:

Word cloud, noun: A word cloud is a visual depiction of content (words) used in a body of text. In the above word cloud, words are arranged in alphabetical order with more frequently used words in progressively larger fonts.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Free wheelin'

So Joel decided today that he would finally ride his bike without the training wheels (the training wheels he had us take off last summer, but then decided he didn't really want to ride his bike). He only needed Brian to hold onto him a couple of times before he just took off and rode like a pro. The boy is doing awesome. He can even get himself started without having to push off from the ground, and is riding in circles and turning around and everything. He's very proud of himself.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My world and welcome to it

Found at MizBooshay's:

If there is someone on your blogroll who makes your world a better place just because that person exists and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence on your blog.

There are many of you out there who make not only my world, but the world of many others, a much better place. Thanks for encouraging and uplifting us all.


Today we'll be finishing up the laundry and getting the oil changed in the van. I'm trying to contain my excitement. :O) Guess it beats having dental work, though!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Kids as characters

Here are those caricatures I told you about:

Don't you think Joel's caricature looks like those twins from the Disney Channel's The Suite Life of Zack and Cody?

California adventure

What a great time! It was a bit too short. One more day would have been perfect. The kids had a blast, and the only thing that would have made it better for me, other than that extra day, would have been a new pair of feet. We walked so much! I don't know how we ever last at Walt Disney World, considering it is so much larger than Disneyland and California Adventure.

If you ever get a chance to stay at the Grand Californian, you should. It is a beautiful hotel. I loved the Arts and Crafts architecture and decor. Our 2BR suite was very large and we had a huge balcony with a great view of the Paradise Pier area of California Adventure. The view was especially nice at night.

We spent our first day at Disneyland. The kids noticed that some of the rides were different from the ones at Disney World.... Pirates of the Caribbean had 2 drops instead of 1 and was longer. They also said that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was better at Disneyland. The Matterhorn (unique to Disneyland) was rated as rather lame, as was the Indiana Jones ride.

Day 2 was spent at California Adventure. I think this was our favorite park. The Grizzly River Run ride was the family favorite.... one of the few rides we *all* liked. We rode it 3 times in a row. Oh wait... I rode it twice and on the 3rd go-round, Halle and I stayed off and took pictures.

The thrill-seekers' (Brian, Emily, and Noah) favorite ride was California Screamin'. This is a fast-moving (although not as fast as Rock 'n Roller Coaster in Florida) coaster with an upside-down loop. Noah didn't ride it until our last day, but then he rode it 3 times in a row. The loop is inside the Mickey head.

While Emily and Brian were trying out the roller coaster the first day, the other 3 kids and I rode the Sun Wheel... a big ferris wheel with an unusual twist. Some of the gondolas are on a track that makes them slide and swing as the wheel goes around. (If you "click to biggify," you will be able to see what I'm talking about a little better.) I wonder what the ride's designers were drinking that day when they came up with that idea?

The kids talked me into riding on the Hollywood Tower of Terror with them this time. Halle stayed off, though. I guess once was enough for her (she rode in September at WDW). While I didn't hate the ride, I didn't see the thrill of it, either. Oh, and we did get to ride another favorite: Soarin'. That was one we got to try out last fall at WDW as well.

On our last day at the parks, we hit Disneyland first. The kids wanted to ride "Pirates" again and we also wanted to have the kids' caricatures done. There was a kiosk set up just outside the exit of Pirates, so Halle had hers done while everyone else was riding. It took just slightly over an hour to have all 4 kids drawn. I am hoping to put up shots of the caricatures later. I'm really pleased with them and am looking forward to framing them and hanging them up.

I was able to take a little break in the middle of the day and meet Mellie Helen at Downtown Disney for a chat. She was sweet enough to drive an hour and a half to come and see me. :o) I loved hearing about her experiences working for Disney and just chatting about "stuff." Thanks again, Mellie!! By the time we were done, Brian and the kids were heading over to California Adventure. I got there in time to meet them for lunch after they got off of Grizzly River Run. Halle was SOAKED. I wish I'd gotten there in time to ride with them, as I didn't get a chance to get back on later... that soaking soured Halle on it for the rest of the day. We ended up splitting up after lunch and Noah's 3 rides on California Screamin'. Halle and I did a lot of walking, then wound up grabbing Joel from the other 3 and closing out the park with a final flight on Soarin'.

We took a scenic route home yesterday, heading west on I-10 to Malibu and then up the Pacific Coast Highway a bit until we hit 101. It was a bit of a thrill seeing the Hollywood sign out our window as we were on I-10. The ocean view along PCH was beautiful, and the kids enjoyed seeing some surfers honing their craft.

I know I left out some good stuff. Maybe I'll talk about it later. Meanwhile, there is laundry and other stuff calling.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Heading south

The suitcases are all packed; all that is missing are the essentials we'll use in the morning. We'll be heading out around 6am if all goes as planned. The kids are very excited about their first trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. OK, the big folks in the house are as well. I'm also looking forward to seeing our hotel, the Grand Californian. We're using our DVC points on a 2BR suite there. (Otherwise, we couldn't swing those kind of accomodations!)

We dropped the pets off at their respective boarding places this afternoon. Campbell is at his usual kennel and Summer went to Antioch to stay with Emily's friends again, just as she did when we took our cruise last fall.

The weather forecast for Anaheim is looking quite promising. :o) Doubtful that I'll be posting while we're gone, so this is goodbye till Thursday night or Friday!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Move along... nothing to see here

Yeah, nothing really important to say today, but I just hated to go a day without blogging; especially since you'll have to do without me for most of next week. (Or is there a way for me to try to write a bunch of stuff ahead of time and have it posted automatically? That would be cool.)

Oh, I guess life wasn't totally boring around here today. I took the dog to the vet to get him up-to-date on all his immunizations. Cha-ching! Man, California has some expensive doggy doctors. I spent $265, and 1/2 of that was for his heartworm preventative and flea/tick repellent. Thankfully, out here the bulk of the immunizations are only every 3 years instead of every year, so I guess it evens out in the long run. I do think I'll be looking for a cheaper place to get the medicines, though. I know I didn't spend that much at the vet in Nebraska. On a cheerier note, Campbell got the same rave reviews from the vet and clinic staff as always.... he is quite the charmer and is always complimented on his outgoing personality. He does need to drop about 5 pounds though; time to cut back on the treats!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Miss Zoot Rocks!

This spiffy new blog design is courtesy of the totally fabulous Zoot. She knocked this thing out in just a few days of "spare" time. Can you believe it? Now, to come up with a suitable reward for all her hard work... I'm thinking something from our upcoming Disneyland trip. I wonder if they have Mickey Ears small enough for NikkiZ?


After weeks of procrastinating, I finally helped Joel clean out his cesspit room yesterday. I lost track of time after I'd been in there 2 hours. But it is now in much better shape and he says, "Next time I'm playing with something, I'll put it back when I'm done." Does that come with a money-back guarantee??


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