Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Winding Down.

Monday proved to be our hottest day here so far. Besides being hot, we were weary. Dog-tired from traipsing around Disney, for twelve hours, two days in a row. But we revved up what energy was still simmering in our reserves, and headed out again.

Had to try the world-famous Churros.

Deep-fried dough sticks, rolled in cinnamon sugar.

Eat 'em warm.

Not bad at all.

It was unusually busy this morning at Disneyland Park, so first thing we searched out a shady bench at Town Square, parked ourselves, and waited for the Disney characters to appear every half hour. Girls got lucky. Mom got snappin'. And we accumulated some more of those much-desired Pose-With-A-Character moments.

Meandered over to Enchanted Walk to locate some princesses. We struck gold, just arriving there as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were preparing for a Meet and Greet!

The girlies filled up those autograph books, which at first I thought were a bit of a gimmick. But the characters seem to each have their own "autograph font", so all the signatures are very different. Some of them even wrote little notes for the girls, too. Add our own pictures to the album, and bingo, the girls have a pretty cheap but memorable souvenir. Now ask me about an autograph book? Great idea.


We desperately needed a break from the heat and the crowds, so headed back to the hotel pool for a swim. Fine dined at Dennys. Returned to the Park. Found a cozy spot, and waited for the parade to begin...

My pictures do not at all capture the fanciful fanfare and elaborate floats in the parade. Everything about it was profoundly magical. Next time we go to Disneyland, I will watch this every day. I will.

Then we joined the throngs at dusk to take in Fantasmic, and finally the fireworks. Both shows were absolutely spectacular, as expected, right down to Dumbo and Tinkerbell flying through the air. Yeah. Really!

Tomorrow a special someone turns 10.

And we're off to Sea World for the day with our birthday girl!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dreamy Disney Days.

Aaaaah. Two full days of "the magic", and we're enjoying every second!

Saturday we spent at Disney Park. Posed for the Kodak Moment by the flowering Mickey welcome.

Also had our first Matterhorn Ride!

Girls were a tad fearful first time around, but we've since been back for more, so looks like thrill won in the war against fear!

Whoosh! Splash! Woohoo!


Been busy filling up those autograph books too... seeing the characters has been a highlight for the girls. At first sight of Mickey on Main Street, just minutes after we entered the Park, Alana bolted for him, promptly lost her footing on the sidewalk and fell face first, autograph book and pen askew. Priceless moment.

We've met and posed with a few characters. Princesses seem to reign in the Kingdom of Popularity.

Yesterday we spent the day at California Park. Tough to be a Bug, Aladdin and Pixar Pals provided a great deal of show entertainment and were a huge wow factor. Soarin' Over California was amazing, although it left Miss KP feeling a little woozy. She's our little concerned citizen, always overly-anxious about seat-belt safety on rides, and I think the idea of her feet dangling was enough to shatter her nerves. She's pretty brave, all the same. She joined us for the Californa Screamin' ride and loved it! We ended our day by watching the fascinating World of Color display. W.o.w. Disney do it best.

We're off in a couple of minutes for our third and last day at Disney Resort.

Tomorrow is Miss Lannie's birthday... and we have a special surprise in store for her!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunny California.

We're here! We've arrived! In this "magical" land of Disney.

And I'm pinching myself, allowing the reality of it all to set in.

We had a rather harem-scarem time actually getting on our flight at YVR. At the misleading directions from some airport staff, we ended up running hither and yon. I'll spare you the long-winded version, but...

...even though our luggage ended up being labelled RETARD (more fitting, I think, for the aforementioned airport agent), the moral of our story is that I would highly recommend Westjet for any or all of your future travels. First-class in every way. Go Westjet!

Our hotel is pretty standard, very clean and of course, there's a pool. At which realization, the girls were itching to don their swimsuits el pronto, and jump in. So off we went.

Jumped in myself. Then relaxed in the warm California sunshine. Sunny, with a cool breeze. Bliss. Lovin' the palm trees and that blue, cloudless sky. Snapped this picture as I lazily lounged by the pool. Nice, eh?

Headed out for supper at the Cheesecake Factory. Took a walk through Downtown Disney. Watched the talented street-performers... until the dancing took a turn for the risque, so we made a bee-line for the exit.

Off to bed. Tomorrow we're off to experience some of "the magic"!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lannie. Livin'. Life.

Samuel Hearne. Early English explorer of our North American lands.

Hadn't heard much about him myself, but was enlightened a few weeks ago.

My fourth-grader had to research this delightful character, then dress in period costume and give a first-person presentation to her class.

She did awesome. Shared some vivid details of the harrowing sea voyage. Dug some ancient treasures out of that dilapidated portmanteau. I'd say she almost passed for Samuel Hearne himself.

That same evening was the Violin Recital.

Similar concept. Dress up. Present to the group.

No cross-dressing this time.

And the group consisted of some 40-50 people that were total strangers. Only person she knew was her lovely violin teacher. But she did it... played her solo, and then the melody for two subsequent pieces.

When I was her age, believe it or not, I was incredibly shy. Presenting and performing in front of an audience at nine years old? Not me. No way.

But she embraces the challenge.
A little pre-hyperventilation and nervousness.
Yet she overcomes it.
Gets up there.
Does her thing.

Guess maybe that "strong will" is good for somethin'.

Friday, June 10, 2011

New In-laws.

Maybe you haven't already, but at some point during your earthly existence you will probably gather a few "in-laws" to your family clan.

Sometimes the "in-laws" are branded the "out-laws" from the get-go.

Not mine. Not yet, anyways.

My first acquisition in the "in-laws" department was my pretty "sister-in-law", who bravely chose to join our ranks when she married my brother back in 1996. At least I think it was '96? Today she still stands strong. Deserves a merit award for all those years of service to my maiden name.

Since then, I've acquired two very sweet "parents-in-law". From Day One, they have welcomed me with open arms and loving hearts... and promptly added me to their birthday and christmas gift lists. No concerns there.

Following right on their tail were the "brothers-and-sisters-in-law". Together, we're a pretty diversified mix. Some of us are not particularly close due to distance, others due to personality. Happens, I guess. But we're part of the Tribe, just the same.

Then, almost three years ago, I experienced a new encounter on the "in-laws" front. Enter the realm of "daughters-in-law". I currently have two. And how pleased I am that this dynamic has added more ladies to our once predominantly male environment.

But not only do I appreciate that they are wonderful wives to our boys, but I also appreciate that they've embraced me, the formidable "mother-in-law", just the way that I am. You know... a little wrinkled, a little over-sized, a little salted-and-peppered. Also, admittedly, a little woo-hoo. Oh, how I love them. They are THE BEST.

And come August, I'm going to have a third "daughter-in-law".

Since the families hadn't yet met, last week was slotted to be the official introduction to this newest "daughter-in-law's" clique. The plan was to rendezvous at a restaurant where we would enjoy some Chinese cuisine.

No spuds on the menu?
Wooden stick utensils?
Would this Irish lass endure?!

In hindsight, I think all of us "in-laws" melded quite well with each other. In between courses, which were plentiful, we were laughing light-heartedly and sharing life's experiences. Or at least trying to remember them!

The Royal Couple of the hour.

No, she is not picking her nose with the chopsticks.
Although I wish maybe that's what she WAS doing.
Instead, she was sucking on a fish eye.
Yuck. I know.

Rabbit Ear humour.

Perfect spot for Chris to keep him far away from trouble.
But obviously not far enough away from HIS crab leg platter.
Watch him walk sideways at the wedding.

I think this is why THIS daughter-in-law fits in so well with our family.
She obviously shares the same genetic strain as the littlest sister.

They are normal, honest. Hard to believe, I know, but here's the picture proof.

Faces of happiness. Aging faces perhaps, but the happiness doesn't diminish.

I don't speak Mandarin, but "Peking Duck" is definitely my new phrase. And my absolutest favorite Chinese dish. What a feast we had. Yum.

And I should add, that despite the omission of all of "Yer Woman's" staple ingredients, she survived just fine.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Me. And Strong Will.

"The Strong-Willed Child" by Dr James Dobson. Have you read it? I've read it. Twice, actually. "Parenting the Strong-Willed Child". Read that one too.

Maybe I should try "Screamfree Parenting", by Hal Runkel, whoever he is.

Fact is, despite exhausting the respected approaches recommended in Dobson's publications, my strong-willed child still possesses her strong will. Always has. Always will. The technique I'm attempting to teach her is not how to get rid of it, but how to recognize it.

No easy task. An endless supply of love, time and discipline required. And some days, I feel like we've arrived... right back at Square One.

Definitely today's sentiments. Argh.

So I finally took refuge in my bedroom from this raging storm of emotion. It was then, in the calm and quiet, when that obstinate child had obviously reconsidered her actions, that the pencilled note was gingerly slipped under my door...

"To Mom. I am very sorry. Will you forgive me? (Please write back on the paper)."

Oh, I had just experienced some very raw moments of anger, yes. I was annoyed, frustrated. Utterly exhausted, striving through this battle of the wills.

But parenting has an uncanny way of reminding me what I really am.

My strong-willed child. Banished to her room, she recognized her error and pleaded for pardon.

Wasn't that how I came to God, a sinful creature, just as I was, simply asking for His forgiveness? Realizing that He sent His Only Son to suffer and die for my sins?

Thank the Lord that I know my sins have been eternally forgiven! But that sinful nature of mine continually reminds me of what I really am, and daily drops me to my knees, confessing my waywardness. Yet my heavenly Father, ever patient and longsuffering, is always waiting with open arms, ready and willing to forgive.

So I closed my eyes and in the quiet of my room, confessed anew my sin of anger and frustration. Oh the peace of resting in His forgiveness! And I thanked Him too, for a repentant strong-willed child.

"So, yes, my precious daughter, I will always forgive you. Will always love you. For I have been eternally forgiven of SO much, by One who loves me with an everlasting love."

Lord, please help me to always love and forgive my little strong-willed charges.
Please supply me with ample parenting wisdom.
And patience. I'll be needing lots of that. Please.