Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thinking outside of the box

Forget baby dolls and bendaroos. The best gift you can give your children is a box. That's it. A big cardboard box.

It seems as if the snow blower that came in the big box wasn't the real present after all. Bella and Mia's Enchanted Castle has provided (going on three hours now) uninterrupted, non argumentative FUN for two (TWO!!) children.

Here they are interior decorating their castle.

Oh wait, upon closer examination I think Mia used the castle as a quiet dark place to take a dump. Creature comforts.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Goat Whisperer

To celebrate the Holiday season Bella's preschool put on a live Nativity for family and friends. The presentation coincided with our first snowfall of the season, which made it even more special. Bundled up, sipping some hot chocolate we watched as the three and four year old classes put on quite the nativity. The manger was decked out with some sheep and a baby calf, who kept mooing through Oh Come All Ye Faithful, making me giggle through it all--cuz really, it made a great baritone.

We watched as Mary was brought in on a donkey while two angels played a pretty entertaining game of tug of war with the arms and legs of Baby Jesus as they delivered him to the cradle of hay. I watched as all of the other kids dressed as shepherds made their way to the manger. For a moment I thought they forgot Bella in the barn because for the life of me I couldn't place her anywhere.

And with a rather loud guffaw I spotted my daughter (looking rather manly) leading the goat three times her size over to the manger.

Can you blame me for not recognizing her? How hilarious is this?

And what in the heck is she hiding under her turbin? Voldemort?

The kids were adorable. Some held on tight to a rabbit, or a chicken or in Bella's case a ginormous goat.

It was really precious to watch and it started our Christmas season out with a bang. As a parent, I adore these moments and take mental snapshots just as much as I take tangible ones. They're growing up right in front of me, so fast.

Sooo, fast.

On a sidenote, "the Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.” -Jay Leno


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kiss my ass Ariel, you red headed merhussy!!!!

For Thanksgiving this year we headed to Los Angeles and Las Vegas for a week with our west coast family. They were so excited to see us. They've also made it a tradition that when we come to visit they take the girls to Disneyland. Nice tradition, huh?!!!

We've been very fortunate to have several Disney employees in the family. And if you're unaware, Disney is AWESOME about free family passes to the park-like 90% of the calendar year. Which means that luckily, we've gone several times over the past 4 years. But this time (above any other) was the most anticipated by our little Bella. She was so very, very excited that she hardly slept the night before because she was planning her entire day at the park. In fact, she woke up at FIVE AM ready to go.

Her first stop was the Finding Nemo ride (her favorite). For all of us older folks, the Finding Nemo ride is the improved version of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. It was a total hit, which made up for the 45 minute wait. Mia loved it. She shrieked every time she saw a fish (animated or not).

But can I just say, waiting in line with an 18 month old TOTALLY SUCKS! Mia did not understand the concept of waiting, walking, waiting, then walking some more. She did this all day long and OH how I hate noodle legs!

She also thought it was funny to cross over into the other lines, which pissed off everyone around us. But Bella? Bella took the wait like a champ!

The second hit of the day was the It's a Small World ride which was finally reopened! And it did not disappoint! In fact, it was all decked out for Christmas/Holidays around the world. Mia kept oohing and ahhing the whole time. I think she could have spent the whole day chillaxin' in one of those boats!

Theme parks with kids just isn't the same as it is when you're 13 and with a group of friends. I remember hitting up every ride a couple times over. Throw two toddlers into the mix and you get to experience three, maybe four rides the whole day! I felt like we had to stop every 15 minutes. Pee break. Snack time. Diaper change. Meltdown. Now I know why parents stay at the Disney hotels and make a week of it. After a few more kiddie rides, we headed over to the Princess tent. And that's where the shit went down!

Okay, here's the deal, from the beginning Eugene and I have been very careful about introducing our girls to the whole princess mentality. In general, we want our girls to be strong, independent individuals--not ones who define their happiness through the presence of a man, err I mean prince. Sorry Sleeping Beauty, but napping through your lonely life until a man finally kisses you is freakin' pathetic. But, no matter how hard we tried to fight it----they crept in. From birthday gifts to christmas presents to toothbrushes, one day I looked around and found that I was surrounded by big hair and ball gowns. We gave up. Don't get me wrong, we don't encourage it but we don't discourage it either. Which leads us to the Princess Tent.

The Princess Tent is an attraction at Disneyland, where (if you have the patience to wait long enough--a minimum of 90 minutes) your child can get a picture with three princesses. Three. In case you were wondering there's like 8 pretty, pretty princesses. So, basically it's a crapshoot as to who you're going to get. But you see, there is a definite ranking order when it comes to the princesses. Top of the list? Cinderella, of course. Second? Little Mermaid. Third runner up? Belle. Fourth would be Jasmine, only because of her glittery outfit and not because Bella has ever even seen the movie Aladdin. And somewhere on the bottom of Bella's princess food chain is Snow White.

While we waited in line, I caught Bella saying to her Lola, "I want to meet Cinderella and Little Mermaid and Belle" with almost a maniacal twinge in her voice. I quickly started into my "you get what you get" routine which I find myself performing at least three times daily nowadays. Bella, half heartedly agreed with me, you get what you get. In fact, one of the princess tent cast members (Disney employee) overheard Bella panting over Cinderella and informed us that the princesses are at random--and that any three of the 8 princesses will be available. Too distracted by his ridiculous court jester costume, I completely ignored the foreshadowing that was coming out of his mouth.

After frantically finger licking Mia's bangs in place, I suddenly realized that I was a total sellout. Here I was, buying into all the hype. I was actually excited! Being next in line, I tried my best to peek around the corner to see who was there. Darn, I couldn't see. Just then the court jester walked us over to meet........Jasmine!

This was totally acceptable in Bella's Princess book. Jasmine! Cool hair and sparkly jewelry. Notice how the girls are looking at another Disney court jester taking ridiculously expensive pictures (of which we will totally not buy) instead of looking at their MOTHER who is screaming "over here! Bella! Mia! Jasmine!" At least Jasmine listened to me.

After our little photo-op with Jasmine, Bella could hardly contain herself as we were lead to.......BELLE!!!! TOTAL SCORE!!!! She even kneeled down for a better picture.

Bella was beaming with excitement! On the other hand, if you look closely, you can see Mia reaching for her belly button (which is hilarious because it's what she does for comfort). I don't blame her--totally embarassed by her mom who's jumping up and down squeeling like a banshee she's trying to "find a happy place."

After I took about 30 consecutive shots with Belle, we were lead over to......are you ready for this? ARIEL!!!!! THE LITTLE MERMAID!!!!! Holy shit, I've never seen Bella so excited. She jumped up and down. I mean, literally, up and down. She reacted like one of those Beatles girls from the 70's--she was that excited. I too caught the excitement bug. I mean there she is, so sweet and pretty with her long flowy red hair and her legs. Oh look-she has legs. Her wish came true, she's up here, where people walk, up where we run, up where we stay all day in the sun. OH MY GOD, ARIEL IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! CAN THIS REALLY BE HAPPENING? We noticed that there was quite the crowd gathered around Miss Ariel. And so we gladly waited our turn, watching with big eyes as a 12 month old (who could barely walk) googled at her pretty teeth a little longer than normal. Than we watched with big eyes as this older couple (like in their 40's-are you kidding me?) wanted to take a picture with her. Than it was our turn and we watched with big eyes as suddenly Ariel got up and somebody else was coming to take her spot. Oh. My. God. My blood started to boil. No way. No freakin way this was going to happen. Not now. I took one look at her replacement and knew what I had to do. I yelled and I mean, yelled. ARIEL! ARIEL! HEY YOU- LITTLE MERMAID- GET BACK HERE! Realizing that anger will get me no where in the happiest place on earth, I switched up my game. I became desperate. In a much kinder, gentler voice, I hollared, Ariel, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, JUST ONE MORE PICTURE, ONE MORE, JUST ONE, IT'LL ONLY TAKE A SECOND. And do you know what she had the nerve to do? Look me in the eyes and give me one of those pageant waves. A PAGEANT WAVE! CAN YOU EFFIN' BELIEVE IT? Almost in sobs, I look back at the scene and there's Mia, wisely massaging her belly button and Bella (who you know is totally on the verge too) and then there's Mulan. That's right, M-U-L-A-N. Mulan. WTF! Are you even a real princess? I mean, come on, MULAN? She's not even in Bella's princess food chain. She's like the plankton of the princess chain. No. Even worse she's the zooplankton who feed on the plankton of the princess food chain.

You get what you get.

Realizing that I made this poor, starving actress feel worthless and inferior, I apologized and told the girls (pretty unenthusiastically) to smile for the camera.

Too sad to look at the camera, Bella stared in the spot where Ariel once stood. Hoping, wishing, that she may just flutter around the corner once more. But no, Ariel never came back.

We made the best of our night at Disneyland, despite that little biatch from under the sea. We marveled at how cool It's A Small World looked at night.

While Mia slept, Bella smiled for a pic with her Auntie Nina

and her devoted Lola

and after being up for 14 hours straight with no nap, Bella's little body collapsed before we even got to the car. Until next time Disneyland, until next time!

Grandparents Day!

We recently celebrated Grandparent's Day at Bella's preschool. What a great idea, huh? I tried for a month to get Bella to spill the beans about what her class had planned, but she wouldn't budge. Their performance was top secret.

The students performed several prepared songs. Here's one of their jazzy little numbers:

After her performace we roamed around her preschool, noticing every detail.

We also seized the moment to get a picture with her and her teachers.

Miss Brenda

and Miss Veronica.

Mia, hopped up on a cupcake high, loved being at Bella's school.

My parents had a ball at the celebration. I don't think they get enough credit for all they do for our family-they are such great grandparents. In fact, we are blessed to have all four grandparents sharing in our childrens' lives. Papa, Nana, Lolo and Lola-thank you for taking such an enduring and selfless role in our daughters' lives. They will always remember your dedication to them.



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