Saturday, 13 October 2007

Muscle Beach Traveling Rings

Here's a You Tube video of the beach we were at in Santa Monica. This is REALLY what it is like! It's a crazy place. We walked around with our mouths hanging open a lot of the time. :0)

Thursday, 11 October 2007

On Becoming Pre-Teen Wise

This is the book I read on the flights coming home from LA. I've read other Ezzo books and quite enjoyed them. This one wasn't a disappointment either. It's a great book to help prepare for the pre-teen years. Some of the things they talked about in the book seemed to be all about our own pre-teen. Her on-set of forgetfulness, negativity and a need to speak to others with more respect has been a little bit of concern. However, it looks like she's a pretty normal girl and the book gave some good ideas on how to help curb some of these new behaviors. I recommend it!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Shopping, Hollywood and the beach

On Monday we went shopping. In one of the information books in our hotel room Jill found an advertisement for an American Girl Store and wanted to go there. Wow. It truly was a store like no other! The advertisement says it a store that every girl dreams of - and I think they're right. They have books and movies and dolls to buy (we were mostly interested in the books). They have a cafe with sittings for lunch and tea and dinner. They also have a theatre. They even have a doll hospital and a doll hair salon! (Just in case your little brother wrecks your doll's hair or something like that) We had a great time there.

We also checked out a few other great stores. Then we headed off to Hollywood. That was really fun! We walked up and down Hollywood Blvd to see the the stars on the sidewalk. I took this picture for my dad:

If you look up in the right hand corner of this picture you can see the Hollywood sign. We tried to get closer but couldn't figure out how to get up this was as good as it got.

Apparently Mulholland Street is a famous one (I had never heard of it but Allen had) so we drove up it. Talk about a twisty turny narrow road!! It was crazy to see all those houses built into the side of the hill.

A lookout point on Mulholland Street

We hummed and hawed about touring Universal Studies or Paramount Pictures - because we drove right by both - but the kids really wanted to go to the beach, so we headed off to Santa Monica. I think they had as much fun at the beach as they did at Disneyland!! They loved gathering shells, playing in the sand, and hucking seaweed at each other (yuck!). It was a great time.

Peirce really loved the palm trees of California. This is a 'mini palm tree' that we found in Santa Monica!

After we were too cold to play in the water anymore we went up to the playground. What a playground it was!! I found out later that it is called Muscle Beach. It was as much a playground for adults to exercise on as it was for kids to play on. They had monkey bars for adults that were QUITE a challenge. There were 60 year old men doing push up on parallel bars with their toes on the bars, and people doing an exercise class, and a couple who seemed to be dancing while keeping hoola hoops going for 20 minutes at a time as well as people doing the craziest things on the equipment there. What a fascinating place!

Another GREAT day!!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner in the USA

On Sunday we went over to Aunt Bette's and Uncle Dave's in Castiac, about an hour north of LA, to watch Conference. They also made dinner for us. It was so great to have a homecooked meal!! We had a wonderful time visiting with them. We had never been to their house before, so it was fun to visit with them in their own home. They just put in a pool and so Jill and Peirce tested it out and gave it their approval. We had a terrific day there. Unfortunately I forgot my camera!

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Something to do on Saturday

Today we got up and said, "Let's go find something to do"

While we waited for our car in the valet service area the kids scanned the brochure racks. We kept having to call them away from there because we were afraid they'd see the Disneyland brochures. We still hadn't told them where we were going. At one point Peirce asked if we'd be going to Disneyland and Jill replied, "Of course not Peirce. We're in Los Angeles. Disneyland is way on the other end of California."

We just left it at that.

When we got a little closer to Disneyland we filmed this video:

Disneyland Pictures

Here are some pictures from the fun day we had in Disneyland:

They got Buzz Lightyear himself to sign the Buzz cups we bought at lunch

Disneyland is getting ready for Halloween. Everything had a touch of Halloween to it....even Minnie and Mickey.
Peirce chose the Mickey Mouse ears hat that flashed. I guess we forgot to turn off the flashing ears for this picture. :0)
Peirce took these pictures. He LOVED all the cute pumpkins we saw around Disneyland.

These were taken on the Mark Twain riverboat.

The last ride we went on was Splash Mountain. They take a picture of you at the end when you go over the 50 foot drop. We had to buy it. The looks on everyone's faces are priceless! The picture is quite blurry. I'll have to see if I can get a better copy uploaded here.

By 8:30 Jill and Peire were both so tired that I think they were asleep before we even backed out of our parking spot!!

What a fun day!!

Deep, Dark and Dangerous

Jill and I joined a parent-child book club at the library. This month we read Deep, Dark and Dangerous. I read it while we were flying to LA.

Jill thinks it's a great book. Personally, I didn't like it too much. I'm not too fond of stories of ghosts and such. I tell myself that I don't believe in them - but part of me thinks that if you spend too much time on this kind of stuff you might find yourself too involved with them. Makes no sense. I know.

Even the cover is creepy. It has a picture of a girl's face floating in water. In the story the main character finds a photo of her mom and her sister. It's ripped in half and she can tell another person is missing. When she asks her mom about it she gets defensive and withdraws. You can tell something is up. Soon the aunt enters the story and the main character ends up going to the cabin for the summer with her. This is where the ghost appears and brings about trouble in practically all the relationships in the book.

I also found some other blogs that reviewed the book. They both seemed to like it a little more than I did. Also, here's a little info on the author.

Surprise Trip

On Tuesday I was driving around. I had received an email about a special that West Jet had - you could fly for $37 one way. Unfortunately I read the email a day late and you had to book and pay that day to get the special. As I drove around I was thinking about how fun it would be to surprise our kids with a trip. I fantasized about all the details of going to the airport and telling them we were going to go on a plane but not telling them where we were going. It just made me smile to think about how I figured they`d react.

When I got home I told Allen about my daydream. He said it sounded like a great idea and that we should check into what kind of deals we could get. He got on-line and found a fantastic deal - and we decided to do it. We booked it for that Friday!!

So Thursday night after school we told our kids we decided we were going to go do something fun for Thanksgiving - go to Lethbridge!! They moaned and groaned that that wasn`t that fun....and we just smiled and put them in the car. We slept at Grandma and Papa`s that night and the next morning we got up and packed everything back into the car (well, after we got AMA to come unlock it after Allen locked the keys in the car while it was running! Ha!!). They didn`t even ask where we were going - they just got in the car. We got talking about it and realized that we often just put them in the car and go somewhere...and they obligingly sit and come along for the ride.

They didn`t really ask any questions until we got to the boarder. We decided to drive to Great Falls and fly from there because we don`t have passports. When we got to the boarder Jill suddenly sat up and said, "Are we going to the United States??!!" We confirmed that we were and there was lots of squeals and excitement. I could hardly stand to not tell the rest of the story. The fun was only beginning!!

While we were waiting in line to get through the boarder Allen gave the kids their 'travel bags' that he had put together. They were some cloth bags we got at the convention this summer and inside there was candy and notebooks and a disposable camera. They were very excited about this and the picture taking began. They took pictures of all sorts of stuff. We let them know that we had 5 days to take pictures so Jill figured out how many pictures a day she should only try to take. They both exceeded the quota though. Here's one of Jill's entries in her notebook about the trip:

When we got to the airport we told them we thought we should go check out the place. We got our luggage out and Jill asked why we were getting it out. Allen said that he had some games in his suitcase for them. Good enough for them! So off we were hauling all our stuff. When we checked in Jill again wanted to know why we were giving out stuff to that guy. Allen told her that he didn't think they wanted to carry it around the airport all the time. Again, that was a good enough explanation. They still hadn't clued in that we were going on a plane. It wasn't until we were in line

Here's a picture of Jill taking pictures of dead stuffed animals in the Great Falls airport:

The kids were THRILLED to ride on an airplane. They didn't even ask where we were going. However, once we got to Denver and told them we were getting on another plane we had to fess up that we were going to Los Angeles.

The hotel we stayed in is the biggest hotel in Los Angeles: The Westin Bonaventure. We were on the 35th floor!! One of the first questions the kids asked is what do we do if there is an earthquake. Eeek. I wasn't quite sure! The elevators are glass and they go up the OUTSIDE of the building.

There were a number of movies that have been filmed in that building. They filmed a gunfight from In The Line of Fire in one of the elevators that we rode in every day.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

It's a Girl!

I went for an ultrasound last week. All along this pregnancy I've been reassuring Allen that this child will be so good - easy to live with, sleep through the night, obedient, and well behaved. Then I went for the ultrasound. They had a hard time getting good images because the baby was moving around so much and it was facing the wrong way. They also couldn't get a good peek to see if it was a girl or boy. When I got home Allen asked how the ultrasound went and I said, "well, we have a little problem - it seems we are expecting another typical Ackroyd child." We had a good laugh over that.

Well I have a connection at the ultrasound clinic. My neighbor and friend works there. She called me Monday and said that since they couldn't get a good 4D image and since they couldn't tell what it was, I could come back for a quick 10 minute visit again and they'd try again.

So I did!! The baby still was facing the wrong way most of the time - but it was a little less busy so they did get a few interesting pictures for me to take home...and they also told me that it is a girl. We're so excited! We would have been just as excited to have a boy - I think we're just excited to know!!

Here is the charming little girl in person! She's got her arm in her face. When you listen very carefully you can hear her say 'Girls Rule!'

(I don't know why the darn picture of the video is so big...can't figure that out....oh well!)