Disneyland Adventure

9 May

Mike has been out of town a lot this month (today’s the 9th and he’s already spent two days in Sacramento, two days in Los Angeles, and four days in Orlando), so Michaela and I have had plenty of together time. I’d been wanting to take a quick trip to Disneyland and decided the two of us would go while Mike is out of town.

Sunday afternoon, I told Michaela we needed to go to Target to get some snacks. Then I hopped on the 5 North and we were off. After about an hour in the car, Michaela still hadn’t asked why we’d been in the car for so long or where we were going (maybe because I got her a cool Lisa Frank coloring and tracing book, plus some new markers). I couldn’t take it anymore, so I asked her if she’d noticed we weren’t heading towards home.

Michaela: Where are we going, Mom?

Me: To Orange County.

Michaela: What’s in Orange County?

Me: Well, Pretend City is in Orange County.

Michaela, excited: Are we going to Pretend City?!?!?

Me: No.

Me again: The Discovery Cube is in Orange County.

Michaela, excited: Are we going to the Cube?!?!

Me: No.

Michaela started to cry at that point!

Michaela: Why do you keep telling me places we’re not going?

Me, feeling sorry for her: You know what else is in Orange County? Disneyland.

Michaela: Are we going to Disneyland?!?!

Me: YES!

And so we did. We dropped our stuff off at a hotel near the resort and then grabbed some dinner before going back to the hotel to play in the pool and hot tub. There was a lovely Mormon family in the pool area with us; when I didn’t want to go back into the pool because it was too cold, the father told his two teenagers to play with Michaela in the pool. She was thrilled, because she loves people who are older than her, and Michaela had them cracking up. The father told his wife that Michaela is “brilliant”and “is going to go far in life.” Smart man!

The next morning, we got up early to go to Disneyland. We hit a few things there before hopping over to California Adventure. We hung out there (and even ran into another kid from Michaela’s class who was playing hooky with his parents) and then went back to Disneyland at dusk. We got a table at the Corner Cafe on Main Street and had dinner while waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade, which Michaela LOVED.

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At 9:30 p.m., we made our way back to the car, where Michaela immediately fell asleep. We were home by 11 and went straight to bed, tired after a fun girls’ getaway.

This morning, I asked Michaela what was her favorite part of our time at Disneyland. Her answer? “I liked when we were on the Little Mermaid Ride [at California Adventure] and the special light made my shoes and socks look cool!”

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Turns out, I could have saved myself a lot of cash by skipping Disneyland and just investing in a blacklight.

Three Nights A Week

6 May

Michaela and I went to Souplantation tonight with a friend of hers. It’s always an interesting experience, to see what other kids eat. I’ve been with kids who skipped all the veggies and got only bread and macaroni and cheese, and I’ve been with kids who had a pretty balanced palate.

Tonight’s friend was telling us how she’s the one of her family’s three kids who likes to eat vegetables and other healthy foods. She said she’d eat pretty much anything. I told her Michaela had eaten some interesting foods, because of our travels, and this was the resulting conversation…

Me: Well, like she’s had frog legs and chicken hearts…

C: Frog legs? Chicken hearts?!?! GROSS.

Michaela: Frog legs are GOOD. I could eat frog legs three nights a week. AT LEAST three nights a week! And chicken hearts are DELICIOUS!

Mind you, I don’t eat either of those things, but it tickles me that she’s an adventurous eater who is willing to try new things.

What Magic is This?

30 Apr

We’ve been at a point for a long time where Michaela can wake up on a weekend morning and entertain herself so Mike and I can sleep in a bit. Something new has happened lately, though, where now Michaela is sleeping even later (she was a pretty solid 7:30 a.m. waker) on weekends, meaning we are all sleeping in even later. The last several weeks, Mike and I have slept until 9 or even 10 a.m.! It’s heavenly. Michaela wakes up at 8 or 8:30, makes herself a light snack, and entertains herself by watching her tablet or PBS Kids, or playing with her dolls or doing art or videochatting with her Nana. Meanwhile, I’m catching Zs. It’s amazing.

Bedtime

24 Apr

Picture it: It’s past bedtime. I’m snuggling with Michaela in her bed, trying to help her get to sleep. She’s quiet, momentarily. Then:

Michaela: Mom? I just thought of something I wanted to tell you about the field trip. Can I tell you?

Me, sighing heavily: What?

Michaela: We saw a cool cucumber today on our hike! But it’s not really cool. If you eat it, it makes you throw up and poop, all at the same time!

Me, sighing heavily: GO TO SLEEP!

(end scene)

Small World

24 Apr

When we bought out house three-ish years ago, it was from the children of the people who built the house. The couple had two children, who were left to sell the house after the parents passed away. When we took possession of the house, there were a few items here that harkened back to that family– a sign that said “The Haimans,” a concrete block with the kids’ handprints in it from when they were kids, etc. We asked our realtor to ask their realtor if they wanted any of the stuff; they didn’t.

Today, Mike took Michaela to a field trip to Mission Trails Regional Park, a park that’s just down the road from the house. Their guide was a man whose nametag said Steve Haiman– the name of one of the kids who grew u in our house. Now, that’s not the most common name in the world, but it’s not “Music,” either. Mike asked the guide if he grew up in San Diego; yes. If he grew up near here; yes. If he grew up at the corner of College and {cross street}; yes. If he grew up at {our address}; yes.

Of all the guides at the park… Of all the groups of school children… Of all the days to go to the park… Mike found the man who spent his early years in what’s now our guest bedroom. (His brother had Michaela’s room.)

It’s a small world after all!

Busy Weekend

23 Apr

Friday, after a full day of work, Mike’s college friend Becka came over, along with her husband and year-old daughter. Michaela was such an awesome big helper! She held Victoria’s hand, found toys that were safe and age appropriate for the baby, and shared with no issue.

Saturday, we had two birthday parties. Michaela jumped and pinata-ed at the first party — and ate FIVE tacos! — and then played and ate more at the second party. Two slices of cake in one day? Sure!

Sunday, another birthday party, this one at a local park that has a splash pad. Playing and splashing and eating pizza and more cake? Yes! Later that day, dinner and dessert with yet another set of friends.

It’s been exhausting in many way, but also really fun. We’re lucky to have good friends and neighbors and to live in a place where it’s 75 degrees in April such that we can have such beautiful days!

Jetlag

8 Apr

I have been soooooo tired since we got back from Japan! Even today, a week after we returned, I ended up sleeping until about 10:15. Would getting out of economy and into seats with more room, presumably for better, more comfortable sleep while in transit, help? Does jet lag get worse as we age? Will my body clock ever return to normal?

I need a nap.

Konichiwa!

3 Apr

We’re back from our just-over-a-week-long trip to Japan! Mike, Michaela, and I flew from San Diego to Tokyo on March 24, arriving March 25 (12 hour flight time + crossing the international dateline + 16 hour time difference = gnarly!), and were there through April 1 (our flight took off at about 5:30 p.m. Tokyo time and landed at about 12:30 p.m. on April 1, San Diego-time. Michaela was tickled we had TWO April Fools Days). We spent most of our time in Tokyo, with a trip to Kyoto, from which we did a day trip to a town called Nara. It was a really lovely trip! Here are some highlights:

The Japanese people

Everyone we met was very polite, which I expected, but they were also surprisingly warm. Michaela got to interact with several children on the subway, including a family we met on the metro and then ran into hours later at a park. The language of play is universal, and a smile goes a long way. We try not to be “ugly Americans,” so I like to think we also left the Japanese people we encountered with a positive impression of the people of the United States.

The Giant Buddha

Nara is home to the largest wooden building in the world and one of the largest bronze statues anywhere. The Buddha there was amazing! So huge, I couldn’t capture it properly in photographs. So calming and peaceful and reassuring.

The Imperial Tokyo

Our last hotel was super posh, with top-notch service. The bathroom was enormous. I could have stayed there forever.

Quality time with the family

We travel a lot, but this was our best trip yet. Michaela is a champion traveler. She was up for almost anything, trying new foods (octopus balls and tiny shrimp and chicken hearts), walking her feet off, and dutifully capturing each day’s activities in her travel journal.

Unplugging

Our cell phones’ internet, phones, and text messaging all worked in Japan, but I kept my phone in airplane mode for the most part so that I could focus on being in the moment, rather than documenting it for social media. It’s very rare that I unplug, so that was a nice treat.

Reading

I read three books during the trip: “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” “The Sound of Gravel,” and “The Rent Collector.” They were very different, but very good. “Bernadette” is a typical beach read– breezy and fun. “Gravel” is an autobiography by a woman who grew up in the fundamentalist, polygamous Mormon church. “Collector” is a fictional story that takes place in a Cambodian dump. I set a goal of reading 20 books this calendar year, and thanks to several vacations, I’m already at 12.

Feeding the deer in Nara

Nara is home to about 1200 deer that roam the grounds of this large park in the middle of town. We bought “deer crackers” and fed the deer… and tried to avoid their kicking and biting. It was actually very cool.

Mike’s 360 camera

Mike has a special camera that takes 360 degree photos. It’s like a panorama picture, but better. It was an excellent way to capture the full experience of wherever we happened to be.

Learning a few Japanese phrases

This goes with my “don’t be an ugly American” thing… I always try to learn at least a few words or phrases in the language of the country we’re visiting. It’s the least I can do since Mike takes care of all of the logistics of our trips! I had a dozen or so phrases (good morning, hello, thank you, excuse me, etc.) and deployed them with gusto.

 

It was a great trip!

Michaela’s Favorite Fruit

23 Mar

Michaela came home from school the other day with a journal entry about her favorite fruits. Here’s what it said:

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My favorite fruits are apples, bananas, watermelon. I like apples because the Granny Smith are so crunchy. I like bananas because you don’t have to lookout for seeds or puts. I like watermelon because it cools you down in summer.

 

My Leprechaun

20 Mar

A (belated) look at my little leprechaun.

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