31 August 2009

And now, the REST of the story!

Entrance into the California Adventure

After a full night's sleep and a good breakfast, we ventured forth the next morning (Thursday) anticipating the long entry into what we now considered Mickey and Friends Gargantuan Garage of Massive Acreage. It actually only took 30 minutes on Friday to make the same jaunt so we were encouraged. Our plan was to explore virgin territory aka California Adventure. Perhaps it's because we had nothing to gauge it by but our experience started out more fun than the previous day! We headed straight for the Paradise Pier to see if we thought we could stomach the huge roller coaster, California Screamin', which is the focal point of the entire park. We looked at it, were uncertain about riding, got Fast Passes (just in case) and then went to ride the huge Ferris Wheel called Mickeys Fun Wheel - and it's not your typical Ferris Wheel. We got on one of the free floating cars, not one of the stationary, non-swinging ones. What a TRIP! Great fun!! Still undecided about Screamin' so went to ride Mulholland Madness, Soarin' (which is just like the one in WDW, one of my absolute favorite rides!), and the Monster's, Inc. Sulley and Mike to the Rescure Ride. We were still undecided about Screamin' so decided to run back over to Disneyland and go on some rides we'd missed the day before. Small World was fun (and a bit different with an outside loading dock and Disney story characters throughout). You cannot leave ANY Disney park without going on the Small World ride - it's traditional! We waited over 50 minutes for the Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin - okay, but not really worth the wait in our opinion. Then we walked back over to CA for our dinner reservation at the Wine Country Tratorria. We then waited about an hour to go on Toy Story 3-D Mania and it was worth every minute of waiting - what a FUN RIDE!! We would have gone on it again if the wait hadn't been so long, and, of course, they were one of the non-FastPass rides. Sigh...

Aladdin and Jasmine in Small World

Alice in Wonderland - Small World

Mulholland Madness

We decided neither of us was brave enough to go on Screamin' so scoped out the crowd and offered our FastPasses to two unsuspecting, but VERY grateful youngsters. Well, they were probably in their late 20s, early 30s, but when you're in your 50s, anything 40 and under is "youngsters" to us. We'd been in the Parks about 10 hours by now - our feet were beginning to protest so decided to do a bit of shopping in Downtown Disney before heading "home" to the Marriott.

"Mikey Mouse"

Saturday was very laid back with sleeping in, late breakfast, leisurely coffee drinking and massaging sore feet. :) We drove to an outdoor premiere shopping center called Fashion Island in Newport Beach after enjoying a FANTASTIC In-and-Out Burger lunch. I did a little bit of shopping and we got Mike's watchband repaired and then headed back to Anaheim as we had a dinner reservation at the Napa Rose restaurant at California Adventure's Grand Californian Resort (lots of "California" bandied about this place!). We've always enjoyed the California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Hotel at WDW and wondered if this would be as good.

Paradise Pier at California Adventure in daylight

Oh. My. Word. "Good" doesn't even begin to describe how fantastic the food was at this place! The food was an experience. The service was, in Mike's words, "impeccable". The ambiance was intimate and the decor stunning with huge picture windows with Arts & Crafts style stained glass overlooking a beautiful garden. The evening was PERFECT! They even wrote "Happy Anniversary" in chocolate on our dessert plates. Those fillets were so tender, they cut like butter. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED should you ever go to Disneyland! Afterwords, we walked back to Disneyland and rode Alice in Wonderland before doing a little shopping. We wanted to ride several of the long-term rides (Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan, Snow White, etc.) but they were either closed for some reason or the lines were over an hour (it WAS Friday night and the parks were jammed with locals). We then positioned ourselves to watch the Celebrate Disney fireworks display which began at 9:25pm. We found a spot to wait and then Cast Members roped off the area putting us front and center of a perfect viewing area without any obstruction. I got to visiting with a family from Liverpool who were there "on holiday" and had been to both the Florida and now California Disney Parks. They were very friendly and the time passed quickly before the spectacular fireworks display. A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Sunday we attended services at the Orange View church of Christ in Anaheim followed by another lunch at In-and-Out burgers. Oh I wish we had these restaurants in Texas!! Where else can you get two good old-fashioned cheeseburgers, fries, sodas and shakes for $13.98?? Then we drove up and down the coastal highway, looking at the architecture, houses, shopping, shoppers, beaches and the ocean (of course!). It really is a beautiful place from Newport Beach down to Laguna Beach. I can understand why people would want to live there from an aesthetic standpoint. Huge trees line the streets - and the streets were very clean and free from litter. I was in the mood for Mexican for dinner so we tried to get to the one in Downtown Disney but the queues for parking were enormous so we just started driving around the Anaheim area and found what looked like a chain restaurant called El Torito. It was very good! Everything was fresh, flavors were different from TexMex and the service very good. We shared a pineapple upside down cake for dessert - something I've never seen in any restaurant before let alone a Mexican one! It was light and perfect and made me want to go home and bake one.

Paradise Pier at Dusk - so very pretty and nostalgic

I'm not sure what we expected California to be like but I guess we had, in the back of our minds, a not-so-pretty picture probably based on the crime dramas we like to watch on TV. And I'm sure LA and other places are like that presupposition. But the areas we were in were gorgeous, well maintained, clean - and the people friendly. One thing that was VERY noticeable about the Disneyland Parks was the relatively modest dress compared to what is seen (or NOT seen, depending on how you, ahem, "look at it") in the Florida parks. You can get "quite an eyeful" in Florida as well as some questionable slogans/pictures on T-shirts. But other than a few low necklines, the California park attendees were relatively modest! Not to put the Europeans down, but we hypothesis that this observation might be due to the large numbers of Europeans that visit the Florida parks while the California parks had more Asian visitors - predominantly Japanese from what we could tell. Considering how "liberal" California is and all the hype with Hollywood and the "stars", we expected something different and were pleasingly surprised to find the parks more "family friendly" when it came to dressing.

Mike taking a business call

A Wife's Guide on "How to handle business calls when on vacation" - proven methods for sucess

We had a really wonderful time on our trip, getting away from "it all", getting time alone - Mike only took ONE call when he was there! No conference calls at 6am (which would have been 4am in California now that I think about it), no email syncing, only one "I need to take this call and then make one call" which was quite a feat for him! The only thing I would have changed about the vacation was our hotel - the Marriott was lovely and we had no complaints about it - it just wasn't "on property" at Disney which is something that definitely makes a difference to your stay if you're a Disneyphile like we are.

Happy Campers!

I hope to get some photos from our drive down the coastal highway this week so again, stay tuned.

So there you have it.

But I still keep hoping for a breakfast buffet to appear each morning. And the maid doesn't show up while I'm gone during the day. What's with that??

30 August 2009

The West Coast Mouse vs. the East Coast Mouse

Thursday was our actual anniversary date. We were exhausted from the combination of a 2 hour time change and the late arrival but headed to Disneyland in our rental car early to supposedly beat the crowds. Now this is where I need to point out our long and loving history with Walt Disney World in Florida. From the first time we went, in 1980, when the only park was the Magic Kingdom, it's been love at first sight. From then on, we took the kids on a regular basis, first every 4 years, then every other year to annually when we lived in Trinidad. In May 2002 we bought into the Disney Vacation Club and thus cemented our relationship with The Mouse. Our children have honeymooned there, we've enjoyed "first visits" of grandchildren, special times all. There is just something totally thrilling to drive into the property, see the huge archways with "Welcome to Walt Disney World", drive to our resort and be welcomed by the staff as we check in. You just shed the outside world and let the magic roll over you as you drive in. And, staying "on property", that feeling just stays and with great sadness you bid it farewell when you have to finally return to the real world.

Driving to Disneyland - a wee bit different! First of all, Disneyland was built back in 1955 (hmm, so was Mike!) in city limits of Anaheim (not Mike - that would have had to be Sacramento). Then the addition of the California Adventure (taking over the original Disneyland parking lot) maximized the park size. Further additions to both parks puts the boundaries right to the surrounding city streets. So as you drive there, you literally see the BACK of the park and it's attractions - and that's just plain weird. And, now that the original lot is gone, where do all those park attendees, well, park?? In a HUGE 6 story garage (SO not-magical!) that is as big or bigger than a football field. It took 10 minutes to drive down Harbor Blvd to Ball Street following the signs to the "Mickey and Friends" garage. It took 30-40 minutes to ENTER the garage and park and another 15 minutes to walk to the escalators to the trams and be driven get to the parks. That's an hour folks. One. Solid. Hour. I wasn't feeling the magic...

Once you get to the unloading area, you are at a center point where "all roads lead to Rome" - Disneyland is on your left, California Adventure on your right, and Downtown Disney behind you. We opted for Disneyland for Day One. It was a little surreal to be there after so much history with Disney World - it was so similar to WDW but yet different. So mentally, the auto-pilots kept trying to kick in but the reality kept us checked. Little things like getting off of a ride that is also at WDW and wanting to go on another one that IS in WDW but NOT at Disneyland. So that was disorienting. The Haunted Mansion is about the same as far as the ride goes but the house exterior in Disneyland is a Creole Southern Plantation vs. the Gothic Mansion in WDW . Don't get me wrong, we had a really enjoyable time but coming off of the short night and the whole "it's the same but different" thing, we felt a bit off balance that first day.

After getting our bearings, we rode a lot of the rides including Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (where I beat Mike by over 100,000 points, I might add), Finding Nemo, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Autopia, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Storybook Land Canal Boats. We ate a wonderful evening meal at the Blue Bayou restaurant which is actually IN the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Mike at the Blue Bayou Restaurant - he's holding up the menu but I like looking at HIM more!

Oh, and Sleeping Beauty's castle is tee-nine-ie compared to Cinderella's Castle at WDW. But given the historical price of real estate in California, I'd wager Sleeping Beauty's California Castle costs tons more than Cinderella's - not that zillow.com is going to divulge THAT information! I'm just sayin'...although with the recent decline in housing prices overall in California, I do wonder! Location, location, location.

After our dinner, we opted to return to the hotel via Downtown Disney as our feet were killing us. We wandered about and enjoyed all the street musicians there - almost bought some CDs, they were so good. We walked all the way to the Grand Californian Resort and the other Disney "on property" hotels and, as mentioned before, the feet were trash talking about us at this point. So we got the "brilliant" idea to just walk to the garage since we could see it from where we were. Bad idea. We should have just turned around and walked back to the tram area and ridden back. But no, we decided to hoof it - after all, we could SEE the garage (but then so could anyone within miles since it's so tall and huge and all). Twenty minutes later we got to the garage and, rather than walking to the escalator that take you to your floor (there are three that service two floors each), I decide the stairs would be better (even though we were parked on the fourth floor and, oh, did I mention our feet were killing us??). Stupid me, I was wearing those FitFlop sandals (which have open toes). On the first flight of stairs, I get my footing wrong and ram my left foot onto the next step and cut it on the metal edging of the step. I just thought I'd bruised it but when I got to the hotel I saw it was bleeding and evidently I'd sliced it. OUCH! Lots of soap and water and Neosporin later, I was all fixed up and decided to heed the safety advice I've always given everyone else and wear closed toe shoes from then on.

Sorry for sounding like a "Debbie Downer" at times - the first day just caught us off guard. I think it was just like when we moved to London the first time - we thought it had to be like America since we spoke the same language, right? WRONG! So Disneyland had to be like Disney World because, shoot, they're both Disney, right? Wrong AGAIN! So our expectation was flawed due to our familiarity with the East Coast Mouse and incorrect assumptions. And not staying "on property" as we do in Florida impacted our experience as well. The West Coast Mouse is just fine - he's just, well, WEST!

The next day was MUCH better and I'll report all to you in due course! Stay tuned.

Oh, and my toe is healing nicely, thank you for asking.

Our "room with a view" - we could see the Disneyland fireworks from here.

29 August 2009


Just a few more "teaser" photos of the highlights of both parks.
This was taken from the parking garage (details tomorrow!) before taking the escalators to the trams. I've never seen so many Italian Cypress trees as I did in Disneyland!

The entrance gates to Disneyland.

Just a step in the Park - literally!

A view from the center of the park entrances on the California Adventure side.

The Haunted Mansion

Casey's Circus Train

California Adventure at the Paradise Peir just past dusk.

Walt and Mickey - two classics!

Sleeping Beauty's Castle

My favorite Mousketeer, Mike.

Mickey's Fun Wheel car

Braver souls than I on the California Screamin'

Tomorrow I'll post the first two days of our trip spent at Disneyland and California Adventure. Stay tuned!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

...but THAT'S never stopped me! However, in this case, I will let the pictures do the talking. Well, some of it anyway.

These photos are from the Storybook Land Canal Boats. This ride isn't in Walt Disney World and I wish it was - it's really cool! We've been to two miniature cities before - one in Holland (Maduradam) and the other in Denmark's Legoland. I find miniature cities fascinating - all that detail, getting the landscaping to scale - kind of like dollhouses on steroids. From a decorator/designer point of view, they are studies in art! What makes these particular scenes so special is their tie-in to beloved Disney stories (which, DUH! makes sense seeing as how it IS Disneyland!).

The ride starts off as you enter, literally, the mouth of the whale from Pinocchio...which is a bit creepy in a fun sort of way. Then you start recognizing the different scenes from each story.

Whoa! Glad those teeth are clean - that would be some tartar buildup!

Looking out the whale's mouth tunnel to the other side.

Here's the scene from the boat of Aladdin's Agrabah...

and up close.

The home of the Three Pigs. Who knew they were English? Or at least like English Tudor with thatched roof? Classy pigs...

Alice's Village - I never thought about where she lived! I always thought about, you know, the "other side" of that looking glass. Evidently so did the writers for the new series on SyFy "Warehouse 13" if you're, ya know, into that sort of thing...which I am...but I digress.

Toad Hall. Quite impressive for a toad! I didn't notice any "torn up" countryside however.

Captain Hook's ship.

The Matterhorn Bobsled Ride mountain is in the background with the miniature village in the foreground. Cool juxtaposition, no?

And Cinderella's Castle - which, as I'm sure you already know, was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle.

Neuschwanstein - the real deal, not a miniature. For all the trivia buffs out there...

33rd Anniversary Surprise

Day One - Disneyland at the Main Gate

I surprised Mike with a trip to California for our 33rd anniversary. He didn't know where we were going until the Saturday night before we left (which was the following Wednesday night). I had "suggested" he take vacation on specific days (that should have been his FIRST clue!) and then liaised with his assistant at work to make sure he didn't have any meetings or calls scheduled the afternoon of our departure as we would have to be on the road to Houston Intercontinental during rush hour as it was. I was a bit nervous about making the plans by myself and also the destination. We go to Florida for our yearly to bi-annual Disney vacation with the kids and grands so figured it might be tough emotionally to go to Florida without our Entourage. Tim had gone to California for business back in May and Megan flew out for a long weekend to join him. They went to Disneyland and also explored the beach highways and thoroughly enjoyed it. So an idea was born...

While trying to figure out the logistics of the trip (frequent flier miles for flights? Marriott Rewards for accommodation?? Disneyland for 2 or 3 or 4 days???), Disney sent me an email offering "buy 3 days get 2 free" for park passes and hotel packages. That made up my mind and cinched the deal. I used Continental OnePass miles to get our flights free (yeah!) and bought the package from the Disney Travel Company for the rest. Win/win!! Flights booked, room/passes/rental car reserved well in advance.

Then came the UPS nightmare. I thought I'd get my travel documents from Disney via USPS. But they sent them UPS, with no advance notification, and a signature IN PERSON requirement. And I was out of town when they tried to deliver. Mom called me to tell me that a note had been left on the door claiming 3 attempts had been made to deliver this and it was being sent back. Well, as (a) there were no stickers for attempt 1 or 2 and (b) I had been home on the day of the supposed first attempt, this all sounded very suspicious to me. At this point, I didn't even know it was the Disneyland documents. I called UPS and told them I was out of town, needed to have a redelivery attempt when I got back and asked who the package was from. And all this was during the week Megan had her post-surgical complications and was in the hospital in Pflugerville - and I was with her. To make a long story short, promises were made, no follow through, notices given that "it was sent back-no it's on the truck out for delivery-no, we've LOST the parcel". I finally called Disney Travel and they calmly said, "You shouldn't have to worry about any of this! We'll take care of it!" And they did. The package was indeed lost so Disney sent a replacement via overnight shipping (and I knew to expect it!). Magical moments restored.

And I'm not talking to UPS for awhile.

We flew to John Wayne Airport on a late flight Wednesday night (8/19) arriving close to midnight. We stayed at the Anaheim Marriott Suites - our room was on the 7th floor, facing towards Disneyland, and were able to watch the fireworks every single night at 9:25 - how cool was THAT?? And having a rental car was a good idea as we wanted to explore the area as well.

More about our trip next post. And photos. Yes, lots of photos!

28 August 2009

Marathon Summer

Hey there - remember me? The one who USED to blog with regularity and then dropped completely off the radar? I'm BACK!

Talk about a marathon - I may not have physically RUN 26 miles (or whatever an actual marathon is) but I feel like I have this summer. Beginning with Lleyton's 2nd birthday party, the summer flew by. Some random (and I mean RANDOM) thoughts and summer highlights:

  • Hottest summer I can remember - in both DFW area and Katy. When a day was cooler than 100F, it actually felt good. I've never seen so many days with 100+ temps and I have the four digit July electric bill to prove it
  • Jennifer is pregnant with baby #3 and was sick as a dog for the first trimester which was bad for her but fun for ME as she, Ben and Luke practically lived with me in Katy for about a month of that time
  • Lleyton had his 2nd birthday (Cars, Trucks and Things That Go Party) in Pflugerville. And I got to make the cake!
  • Ben learned to swim - in my pool...sniff...I'm so proud!
  • Luke had his 2nd birthday (Cow Party - that's P-A-R-T-Y, not pattie, for all you smart alecks) in Keller. I got to make the cake - again!
  • Mirai had her 2nd birthday (Silly Monkey Party) in Keller at our vacation place. I got to make the cake(s) - cupcake tree and a layered cake with her own personal monkey!
  • Bounce Houses are great investments for grandparents. Well worth the money!
  • Carpeted stairs are better to fall down then wooden stairs if you are 2 years old - or any age for THAT matter (just ask Lleyton...and for the record, it was the CARPETED ones he took a dive on, not the wooden ones, probably saving a trip to the ER and possibly his life...shudder, shudder...)
  • All gallbladder surgeries are not created equal. Just ask Megan.
  • Two surgeries under general anesthetic within a week of each other are not a picnic. Again, just ask Megan.
  • Relatives with gardening expertise are much better than hiring total strangers. Our garden(s) - both of them - ROCK! (Thanks, Jason!)
  • Having two boys spend the night while their folks celebrate their anniversary isn't anymore work than having just one.
  • I never thought I'd have three, yes, THREE dogs. Sigh...
  • Mike can add NYC and D.C. to his repertoire of travel destinations besides his usual Kazakhstan. Discover America!
  • Working with UPS to redeliver an important package that then becomes lost was torture. They totally let me down. On my black list for now.
  • Icemakers that aren't cleaned every six months will land you a very expensive repair bill.
  • Wedding Anniversary #33 is the "Disneyland" anniversary. Hallmark begs to differ.
  • Fort Worth has a zoo worthy of obtaining an annual membership. I need to get one - Jen has one for her family. I think I've visited 3 or 4 times in the past 12 months.
  • Expatriate relationships last a LONG time! Reunion with three families from our Stavanger, Norway days this summer was fantastic - thanks ANN!
  • Neighborhood wading pools are fab if you have young grandchildren - 18" depth was perfect! And the pizza place delivers to the POOL!
  • Watching the Astros from the Diamond Club area is superfantabulously wonderful! Taking guests to enjoy it with you even more so.
  • Houston has a children's museum that is really cool - especially their Kidtropolis (new this year). Just hard to go in summer when every single (it seemed) daycare center was also visiting.
  • woot.com launched their site for kids at kids.woot.com - check it OUT!
  • Anyone needing any decomposed granite can get it FREE off my driveway in Katy. Still there. Still waiting to get a nasty letter from the HOA giving us 10 days to get rid of it. Don't know HOW to "get rid" of decomposed granite - can't put it in the trash, can't put it in the garden beds, sheesh - any ideas?? Friends took some of it; I swear the stuff grows at night.
  • Sweet potato vine is the best accessory for your garden - it's a great filler, literally, and adds a great dimension of color since it's lighter green against darker greens and seasonal color. Like the tacky bracelet described in "Bridget Jones' Diary" - "it's what I'd call an all-rounder - goes with anything, anywhere..."
  • If you're still reading this, you deserve a prize.
Well, that's it for today...the Reader's Digest version of my summer sans the Letters to the Editor or the "Life in Uniform" jokes. I will post photos from our recent Disney vacation soon - I've got to edit them a bit and pare them down to a dozen or so from the (large number) I actually took.

07 August 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Megan is out of her surgery and it was, thankfully, "textbook". They did find a leak, put in a stent, will keep her overnight but anticipate a MUCH easier ride from here on out!

Thank you for all your prayers and comments. We all appreciate it.

06 August 2009

Update on Megan

Megan had complications following her surgery last Friday. As most of you know, I took her to the ER on Tuesday when she started having severe pain. They admitted her and administered IV drugs (morphine based) and tried to wean her to oral meds. Today they did a HIDA test (Google it) and it looks like there is a small leak, probably from the bile duct. So at 7:15am they'll do another surgery to put a stent in. It will be done endoscopically through her mouth and will not require (shouldn't anyway) any incisions. They will inject dye to see where the leak is and then do the repair. Hopefully that will be the end of the matter and she might even be able to go home tomorrow night or Saturday morning. Then, if they put in a stent, she'll go back in 4-6 weeks for an outpatient procedure to remove the stent.

The kids are in George West with her folks. Mike will drive to Austin tomorrow sometime after having arrived back in the US tonight. I wish he could have come tonight but that's not a good idea after traveling 28 hours to get back home.

I'll keep you posted and let you know how things are going.

Megan. Poor baby...

Most of you know Megan had her gallbladder out last Friday. What you might not know is that Tuesday she had a set-back in her recovery. I had come in on Sunday from a weekend in Keller to keep her company and watch the kids while Tim was away in California. She was feeling pretty good considering she'd been sliced and diced and cored just a couple of days earlier. Monday was fairly uneventful - lots of catching up on important things like watching all the DVDs we hadn't seen in ages or missed in the theaters. The kids were down in George West with their other grandmother, MoMo, who was going to drive them up here (Pflugerville) on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning, Megan started having a pain that quickly escalated into an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Not good.

I called her surgeon's office and was told to take her to the ER (that's A&E to all you Brits out there). Dogs were thrown into the yard, water put out and I literally sped her to the hospital.

Three hours later, after a contrast CAT scan, blood work and other tests, the reason for her pain was inconclusive. However, the pain was very real. A very strong pain med was administered via IV which made it more manageable. Tim made the decision, after much texting back and forth, to come home from California, where he was on business from Sunday afternoon, as soon as possible. Her surgeon's partner came by late afternoon and decided to admit her so the pain could be managed via IV with "stronger stuff" and to observe her. Relief all around - literally and figuratively.

News Flashes from both Katy church of Christ and Brentwood church of Christ resulted in a huge prayer chain and my facebook notices received so many helpful and prayer-promise comments for which we are so grateful.

Bottom line, Megan was "shaken AND stirred" as Bond would not have said. She is still in the hospital and doing better, becoming more ambulatory - and has switched to oral pain meds instead of the stronger IV meds as of today. When the doctor comes to visit tomorrow, we have high hopes that she'll be released to come home.

And she has officially joined the ranks of people who have had gallbladder surgery and have a story to tell! Unfortunately, gallstones are now considered a "bio-hazard" so are not given to the patient anymore so there goes her chances of someday being a grandma who terrorizes and delights her grandchildren by showing them like MY grandma did. :) Instead they now photograph the procedure and give you about eight photos of the surgery and the stones they removed. Not exactly Christmas card stuff. :)

So hopefully she is on the downside of this and will go from strength to strength from now on.

Just thought ya ought to know! :)

03 August 2009

Who are those masked men??

I'm just coming up for air following my marathon "back in the saddle again" parenting experience - aka "Jennifer is sick as a dog with this pregnancy and spent the past three weeks in Katy with me so I could take care of the boys as well as her". So during the next few days (weeks?), I will start posting photos of some of the things we did during that time.

One thing we did on a fairly regular if not daily basis was swimming. We discovered that the subdivision pool facility had a wading pool, protected by a sun-filtering transparent tarp, so we often went there. So between our own pool and the community pool, we spent many mornings in the water. Ben even learned to swim and tread water but more on that one later.

For now, here is what the fashionable pre-school set is wearing to the beach these days. Some arm candy for this Gramma, eh?? :)

02 August 2009

Happy Birthday, Mike, wherever you are!

Mike - probably about 2 years old

My CF (Chief Friend) is turning 54 today, but he's out of the country. Boo! So I'll have to send him salutations via phone and the nets. SO impersonal! But I have big things planned for a celebration when he gets back to 'the land of his birth'. No, I'm NOT jumping out of a cake - we can't afford a cake THAT big!

In the "meanwhile", Happy Birthday, Babe! We all love you and wish you were here, instead of there..."there" being where we are not!

Mike's the one on the right - with his sister, Cindy, and brother, Pat

Kindergarten - ain't he the cutest thang!? I think he must have some "elfin" in him. No, wait, it has to be Vulcan. "Live long and prosper" kid!

From your beloved, Cheri, with love...