Fall School Pictures

>> Saturday, October 27, 2012

 We got the kid's school pictures back! They are always fun to see. Some of them have master the 'natural' smile ...other's are still working on it..LOL! :)

Walker 7th grade-12 yrs. old. 
Eli 4th grade- 9 yrs. old.
Alayna Kindergarten- 5 yrs. old. 


Off to a GREAT Year!

Jared and I went to Alayna and Eli's Parent Teacher Conferences this week. Alayna is in Kindergarten this year and she absolutely LOVES it. She is our social butterfly and the thought of missing a day (even if deathly sick) sends her to tears!

Mrs. Ence her teacher had nothing but wonderful things to say. She told us that she is one of the stronger and outgoing personalities in the class and she has made a friend with one of the more challenging girls in the class. Alayna has taken her under her wing and does everything she can to help this other student to stay on task. Mrs. Ence said most of the other students tend to stay away from this child but Alayna has made it her personal responsibility to take care of her. My heart melted when I heard this. What an example of unconditional love. She probably doesn't even realize what her friendship means to this girl. Her compassion and patience is an example to me!

Alayna's Math Example: They were asked to draw set numbers of things such as; draw 4 of something, 2 of something, 1 of something. I wondered why they were sad...Alayna said the little girl is getting scratched by the kitty and her friend with the blue hair is sad for her too. LOL! :P
Alayna is not only doing well socially she's a rock star academically. She's one of the top students in her class and he's already trying to write sentences and reading small books!
Alayna's Writing Sample: Alayna is one of the few in the class starting to write sentences. It says, "I want a makeup set.".... Well what little girl doesn't!?! :)
Her teacher said she is joy to have in the class. :) We couldn't be more proud of her! 

We went to Eli's Conference next. He has Ms. Davis. She is AMAZING!!! She's very good friends with the boy's 1st grade teacher Mrs. Smith, who is the Gold Standard of teachers. Ms. Davis is definitely giving her a run for her money though. We are so incredibly thrilled with her. Eli's had some stinker teachers and it has been a wonderful blessing to him to be in her class this year. 

Ms. Davis couldn't stop talking about how much she loved having Eli in her class and what a great kid he is. She said he's a lot of fun because you can give him a hard time and he "gets it". :) (Must be from the years of training from his sarcastic parents..lol!) 

She told us that he's one of the two top students in her class and that he brings a lot of laughter and joy to the classroom. It seems he's a bit of a class clown but he knows where to draw the line. :P One of the favorite jokes he likes to play is when Ms. Davis lets the girl line in first and he and his buddy like to slide in trying to go unnoticed as one of the girls. When they get caught Ms. Davis says, "Christine and Elizabeth is that where you are supposed to be?" LOL! She said if they are going to pretend to be girls she's going to call them by girl names. Jared and I thought it was hysterical!

Eli has really come out of his shell this year. Last year was a tough year for him with some bullying from a close friend and it affected him in a lot of ways. This year he's a new "man" and it's so awesome to see him grow into an outgoing, confident, self assured person. He is also becoming quite a performer. He's been chosen for a small group solo in the 4th grade program and in chorus! He also applied for the school's Peach Helper Program and was chosen for that as well! :) He and a friend apparently went to Mrs. Smith's class one afternoon and asked her if they could sing "The Counties of Arizona" to her class. Being the awesome teacher she is she said of course! She later wrote me and told me about how cute it was!! I was blown away when she told me. Hahaha! He's quite a little show off. :P

Eli is in his 2nd year of A.L.P. (Accelerated Learning Program), but this is his 1st year of the "pull-out program" where he leaves his regular classroom and goes to A.L.P. for Math and Language. Both Ms. Davis and his A.L.P. teacher Mrs. Warfield gushed about his writing abilities  They said he's so advanced for his grade level that it must be a God given talent. His use of similes in one writing sample she showed us she said is something 4th graders aren't typically capable of! Mrs. Warfield also said he LOVES math and he's very good at it. They both said he's a wonderful student and pleasure to have in their classrooms! :) What parent doesn't love to hear such accolades about their child!?! :)

Eli's Writing Sample: He had to write about his Hero. :D

My kids are pretty good at melting my heart. I couldn't believe he chose me as his Hero! :) It sorta made my day!! It also cracked me up when he said, "She is usually nice to all her kids." Hahahaha!!! He is a blessing and joy to our family and I'm so thankful that his teachers feel that way too. 

So to sum it up, Alayna and Eli's teachers love them to pieces and they are super smarty pants!! :) What more could a Mamma ask for!?? :D


What a Nice Surprise!!! :D

>> Sunday, October 21, 2012

We got a phone call Friday afternoon from a soldier of ours we haven't seen in almost 2 years! He said he was in town for some training and had some time off, and wanted to know if he could come up and spend the weekend with us. 

We were so excited and thrilled we told him of course!!!!

Joe got here in the late afternoon. It was so good to give him a hug and see that he was still in one piece! We took him out to dinner to Rigatony's. We love that place. (Walker wasn't with us because he was at a Scout Camporee.) 

Alayna and Eli made FAST friends with him. Joe was so patient and sweet with them. Whatever they wanted to do he said sure! He goofed around with them for hours! He quickly became the coolest Super Hero they've ever met! :)

He told us with all of his trainings he doesn't get much downtime and he hadn't played the guitar in a while. Jared pulled his out and we all sat and listened to him play and sing. He's very good. :)

Alayna wanted some lessons so she got her Wii guitar and tried to follow him. It was pretty adorable! ;P

Here they are playing a nail biter game of "5 Little Monkey's Jumping on the Bed"! :P

Saturday night we had the whole family over for dinner. 

All the little cousins fell in love with him. It was a joy to have everyone in our home visiting and eating together. My heart was so full of gratitude! 

Before he had to go tonight we got some group pictures...including the dog. :P

It was so funny how much Alayna got attached to Joe. When he first got here she acted so shy. She was even hiding under the table. Which she's 'never' shy. Once she got comfortable with him, she wouldn't leave his side. She wanted to be his BFF! It was the cutest thing ever. 

When it was time for him to go and he got in the car and drove away she cried her little heart out for close to an hour. She didn't want him to go. All night she's been in and out of tears missing him and telling us she wants him to come back. Poor little thing....

"Super Heroes"!! :)

Joe shared this picture with me so I hope it's ok that I share it too. He is giving this little Afghan boy a piece of candy...absolutely precious! :)

It was a wonderful surprise when he called and it was an absolute blessing to have him with us for the whole weekend. He's an amazing young man!


Day 4 - Bubbles are Deep! :P

>> Friday, October 19, 2012

Tuesday was our last day!

We packed up everything and then we were going to go to the beach, but had forgotten all the beach toys, so the kids agreed to just swim in the pool/jacuzzi. Jared and I weren't going to complain about that!! :P

We got on our suits headed down to the jacuzzi and turned it on. We think someone had some fun by pouring shampoo into it!! When the jets turned on it was a Bubble Fest!!

The kids thought this was the greatest invention ever!

 Jared is such a good Dad letting Alayna play beauty shop with him. :D

It was about that time and we had to get ready to head home. 

You know..bubbles and vacations are very similar. Neither one can last forever!!! ;) Until next time!


Day 3 - Founder's Park and Mickey's Halloween Party!

A few years ago I saw a clip from an Orange County news station about Founder's Park in Anaheim, California. It's a historical park dedicated to Anaheim's agricultural history. It also has two impressive historic homes on site. 

The Mother Colony House is the oldest remaining wood-framed building in Orange County. It still stands as a symbol of Anaheim’s viticulture era.  George Hansen, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Vineyard Society, who had the formidable task of creating a vineyard colony in a semi-arid region, built the house in 1857.  Originally located at 235 N. Anaheim Blvd, the structure was saved from demolition by the Mother Colony Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and moved on October 10, 1928 from Anaheim Boulevard to its current location at 414 North West Street.

The Woelke-Stoffel House represents the citrus era in Anaheim.  One of the last Queen Anne houses in the City of Anaheim, it was built in 1894 for John Woelke, a retired Chicago restaurateur.  

The main attraction I wanted to come see was the Moreton Bay Fig Tree. It is the city's first landmark tree. This historic tree was imported from Australia by Anaheim’s first nurseryman, Timothy Carroll, and planted by the Horstmann family prior to 1876.
I know, I know.. doesn't seem that thrilling...But wait there's more!!!

Do you see how enormous this tree is?? It's trunk is 8.5 ft. wide!!!

Still not impressed??

Ok..here's the clencher. This tree was used by Disney as the  model for the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (now the Tarzan Treehouse) at Disneyland!!!!! 

Epic!!!!! :D

I hope these pictures do justice to the enormity of the tree. It was huge!!! The kids had a blast climbing all over it. But be warned..it is a fig tree and it's still producing figs...the ground is covered in figs! LOL!

 Fun little bit of trivia huh! :P

After we left the "Tarzan Tree" we headed over to Marie Callender's. All of them have closed in Arizona and it was the only place that sold the pie that I CRAVE! Chocolate Cream Pie with Meringue!!! 

We took it back to the hotel to eat. It was heaven on earth when I took my first bite!!! LOL!

 On our way in we had to take our 2nd annual picture here in the lobby! :) 

We grabbed some lunch a little bit later and then got ready for Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland!!!

Eli was the Mad Hatter, I was Snow White, Alayna was Jasmine, Walker was a High Roller, and Jared was the Hulk!

Everyone thought Eli's costume was amazing. We had people stopping us asking to take his picture! A lot of people loved Walker's too...especially his chest hair! LOL!

We ran into some other "characters" along the way! Our friend's the Campbell's and Riedlinger's joined us at Cafe Orleans for Pommes Frites, Mickey Mouse Beignets, and a new holiday Pumpkin Creme Brule! YUUUMMM!!!!

He can be a little temperamental! :P

Are you ready for these Trick-or-Treaters??? :D

We went around to most of the candy stations, rode rides, watched some fireworks, and hung out with great friends! It was definitely worth the admission to do at least once! 

Alayna finally got to meet Ariel too!!!

We missed 'several' candy stations and we still came home with almost 20 lbs. of candy!!! It was a great night! :D


Disneyland Day 2-California Adventure!!

We arrived bright and early on Sunday! I knew Fast Passes for Radiator Spring Racers had been running out an hour after Park opening so I wanted to make sure that our one and only day in California Adventure wasn't wasted. :)

We made it just in time. We were about 15 min. ahead of our friends and by the time they got there they had run out of FP's!!

 Looking down the street of Carsland.

I loved all the attention to detail they put into everything here. It really felt like you were walking down the set of the movie. 

The first ride we went on was Mater's Junkyard Jamboree!

The que for Mater really showed what Disney does best as far as submersing guests into the story. It was so ornate. I loved it!! :)

The kids were getting more and more excited! :) 

It's a cute little ride. It's sort of a tea cup ride but it whips you around more since you are in a trailer. It was a lot of fun!

These hats were awesome! I really wanted to buy one..LOL! 

In the movie they have the Cozy Cone Motel. Staying true to the movie they made them into little food stands where you can get different things to eat. 

The first one is the Pop-Cone, you can get different flavored popcorn like pickle flavored popcorn. The second one is Cone-Coctions. They serve Redd's Apple Freeze. It is soooooo goood! By far my favorite drink we tried. I will warn you however, the speed at which you are served is terrible. I think we waited 30 min. with only 3-4 people in front of us. It was crazy hot that day and so it felt like we were baking in an oven. 

 The third one is Chili Cone-Queso. They served chili with beef, chicken or vegetarian, and a pomegranate limeade...either virgin or not. We tried the non-alcoholic one of course. It was tasty. Jared like it over the Apple Freeze but I liked the Apple one better. :P 

The last one was Ice Cream-Cone. You can get..you guessed it...Ice cream and churro bites with a chocolate dipping sauce. 

Our Chili Cone-Queso.

 Walker was hilarious..when he found out you can eat all things in a cone that's all he cared about. Eating food from a cone was top priority! Hehehe!!

The red drink is the Pomegranate-Limeade. Sorry I didn't get a pick of the Apple Freeze. Just imagine it just like that one but apple juice color. :P

Further on down the road! :)

We'll be back here a little later. :) 

We hit a dead-end so we did a u-turn and took the scenic tour back the other way! ;)

It's hard to grasp the scope and size of what they built here. I kept up with the progress as they built this land. The scaffolding, rock-work, man hours, ect. was unbelievable. They brought in artists to get the light and shadows, and colors just perfect. It looks very real up close. You wouldn't know otherwise!

Can we 'hitch' a ride?! :)

Luigi's Flying Tires is another new ride in Carsland. We of course had to be sure to give that one a whirl! :)

You can see on the ground those black circles. Those are air vents. It's sort of like a giant air hockey! Air blows up and makes your tire float. As you lean one direction or another your tire will travel. It was a fun little ride. :) Very windy!!! LOL!

We had to take some time to visit the classics for Alayna. She really wanted to visit Bugsland!

Guess who we ran into????


The last time we met Flick, Walker was 5 years old. It's been 7 years since we've seen this guy!!

He was as cool as ever! :P

After the meet-n-greet it was time for some more rides!

The moment finally arrived and it was time to ride the ride we had all been waiting for. Radiator Springs Racers Baby!!!!!!!! :D

Some of us were more excited than others...Alayna was obviously unsure what this ride would hold! LOL! 

I assured her it was just like riding in Dad's car with the windows down. She bought it for a bit! :)

All I can say is Disney really out did themselves with the beauty and size of this ride! I can't get over it!

Now there is an outdoor portion and an indoor portion to this ride. My indoor pics turned out, well, like indoor flash pictures...sorry...

As a family we decided this was an excellent ride. It was a great combination of a roller coaster thrill ride and the classic Disney story telling ride you'd find in Fantasyland. Well done! :D

I couldn't stop laughing when I saw our picture when we got off. Jared is blocked by the number and I'm blocked by my crazy hair!!! I mean what is going on there!!!!!!???? Hahahahahaha!!! Alayna is still plugging her ears because it was too loud for her and Walker and Eli are having a great time! :) So funny!!

We ran around and hit Little Mermaid, Mickey's Fun Wheel, Toy Story, King Triton's Carousel, California Screamin', and Sorin' Over California. By then we were feeling a bit worn out. 

As we took a quick break I got some more pictures of Buena Vista St.

The Red Car Trolley.

Carthay Circle Restaurant. 

This is a reproduction of the Carthay Circle Theater. This theater played a very significant role in the life of Walt Disney; it was the location where his first feature-length film,Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered in 1937. The d├ęcor of Carthay Circle Restaurant reflects the romance and refinement of Hollywood's Golden Age, including references to the accomplishments of Walt Disney and his original animators. Maybe we'll be able to eat there one day! :) I hear the food is amazing!

We decided the Carthay was probably out of our budget, so we ate at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe. They had some really yummy sandwiches and they were reasonably priced. :)

We met one of the Buena Vista St. citizens, Donna. She introduced us to her festively dressed dog Lady! She was very sweet! :D

Disneyland Park has a Walt and Mickey statue, but California Adventure never has had one. With the remodel of the Park they added one here. I think it's very fitting to the time-period they are trying to portray. 

We headed over to Disneyland after this and rode most everything in Fantasyland. We had to of course get one ride on Pirates and then we headed home for the night. It was a HOT day but we made the best of it and had a great time. It is Disney after all!!!! :D

We checked into the Ramada Plaza Inn that night as well since we only had 1 free night at the Hilton. We've stayed there before. It's walking distance from the Park, a great price, and pretty nice. :)


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