Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Comes Early

Tenley found a big stuffed Bolt at the Disney Store and just fell in love with it.  Her mother and I told her no she couldn't have it because she has no more room for stuffed animals and it was so close to Christmas.  That presented a challenge to Tenley who immediately called her Grandma and asked her for it.  My mother, politely asked me, and then got online and ordered it. 

Well, yesterday fresh from her Gymnastics class, Tenley was surprised by the UPS man delivering her package.  She immediately grabbed onto it and only let go long enough to eat dinner and get ready for bed.  She loves it.

Thanks Grandma!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa's Response

Tenley wrote a letter to Santa and mailed it last week.  Today, she got a letter back from Santa.  It's really cool and she was very excited.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Visiting Santa

Today Tenley went to Victoria Gardens to visit Santa and give him her requests for Christmas this year.  As always it was a very long line and Santa's helpers were a bit on the surly side.  But there was a cute picture in the end.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Toothless Tenley

Tenley lost her first tooth today during school.  She was writing in her journal and I was on the other side of the class helping some students with a project when I heard "Daddy, my tooth came out!"  She was so excited that her tooth finally fell out.  Now it's time for the Tooth Fairy to do her part!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

6th Surprise

The Friday before Ten's birthday started out like any other day: up at 6:15, waffle & yogurt for breakfast, dressed/hair combed and off to school. At 11:15, however, her day took an unexpected detour when she was summoned to the office and told to take all her things. Her classmates told her she was lucky because she got to go home early...they had no idea.

Ten was surprised to see us, and a little miffed that she was about to miss out on chicken-patty-on-a-bun for lunch. So, it was with a hint of skepticism and a healthy dose of resignation that she asked, "Are we going home??" "No." "Then where are we going?" "Hmm. Well, Daddy & I thought maybe we'd go to Disneyland." She couldn't get her backpack off & get in the car fast enough.
Once we arrived and Uncle Kev got us all signed in, our first stop was City Hall to get Ten an It's My Birthday button. I love the birthday buttons: they write the birthday person's name (and sometimes age) on it and all day nice Disney Cast Members will extol birthday wishes...and often give special treatment. Best of all, it's free!

The day began as it usually does in Tomorrowland despite the fact that Star Tours was closed (good- I'm looking forward to almost getting to somewhere besides Endor in 2011) and so was Space Mountain (not good- it's Ten & I's favorite, and they're just "themeing" it for Halloween).

Ten & Jeff started with the Rockets, and while in line for Buzz Lightyear, Jeff overheard someone walking past say that they had just gotten off Space Mountain. I was sent to investigate. Amazingly, it was true, and I jumped right in line. Good thing too, because they closed the line about 15 min after I got in it, and Jeff and Tenley were only allowed to go because I was holding our places!

After scoring our ride on Space Mountain (she got to sit in the front because it was her birthday), we hit the Autopia (where Derek, Shulmia and Jason went to heroic lengths to get Ten the "red Suzy" car because it was her birthday) and Nemo Submarine Voyage. It was then that Ten brought joy to her Dad's heart by saying that she'd like a snack and to "maybe do the lightsaber thing".

Now if you've never seen the Jedi Training Academy, it is waaay cute and the kids love it. Some Jedi come out and choose 20 or so Padawans from the audience who get to wear Jedi robes and wield lightsabers while they teach them a simple sword fight combo...then Darth Vader and Darth Maul show up and they get to fight them. Awesome- the trick is getting picked because there are 20-30ish spots and usually 50+ kids vying for them at each show.

We figured Ten had a reasonable chance: it was the last show of the day, she looked cute....and she had The Birthday Button. She got picked, thereby making all her Geek Dad's dreams come true: his little girl was a Jedi!

...and she was taking on Darth Vader!!

The Force was strong with her- she won, but afterwards said that she thought that "Darth Vader took it easy on me."

Having defeated the Dark Side, we trotted off to Fantasyland where she rode the Matterhorn and got her face painted.

Once painted up, we got on It's a Small World. Ten decided to work on her geography skills by trying to guess each country. Some times she did well...and other times we get this: "Look Ten! Cowboys! Indians! Farmers! Where are we??" "Facebook!!" Both hilarious and sad.
As we were waiting to get off the boat, Jeff announced "Aunt Beth and Uncle Bill are going to meet us at the exit" They had shown up to purchase something for Jeff's Mom, and came and found us to say hi. Tenley promptly talked them into going on the Tea Cups with her.

Aunt Beth and Uncle Bill said good-bye to us after the Tea Cups, and we continued on to Mr. Toad, the Carousel, Big Thunder, Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise. Somewhere in there, we zipped over to First Aid to get me some Advil before my head exploded, and were then seduced into dinner by the smell of fried chicken from the Plaza Inn.

We made it over to California Adventure with just enough time to ride Soarin' Over California (birthday button = "of course the birthday girl can sit in the top row") before that park closed.
One very very tired little girl dragged herself through the World of Disney store to pick out a souvenir, and then almost passed out on her Dad's shoulder waiting for the parking lot tram. She was actually asleep before we got to the freeway- not surprising since she'd been up and on the go for 16 hrs!
The Dad and I tumbled into bed as soon as we deposited Ten in hers. It was a good Disney Day: not too crowded and not too hot/cold. But more than that, it was a great family day: a good surprise, a happy little girl and no angst from anyone.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Tenley's Fortune

Chinese food for dinner. Read Tenley's fortune to her and she says, "I don't like that fortune. That cookie should mind it's own business."

Saturday, August 28, 2010


"China Sister" Lauren unintentionally did Ten a solid by having her 8th Birthday party at an ice skating rink. Ten has been wanting to go ice skating for the longest time ( I think it has something to do with that Barbie Pegasus movie where Barbie ice skates), but I am extremely clutzy, and her Dad hasn't skated in years. This was the perfect solution, and as it turned out, the perfect place.

Lauren's mom found this ice rink in Van Nuys ( ) that from the outside looks highly questionable, but looks like every other ice rink I've ever been to on the inside.

The party started with what was seriously the coolest thing: ice bumper cars. Like bumper boats on ice. They were awesome. Ten was al little unsure before her first ride, but she got off all smiles and giggles and happily got right back in line for another spin.

After the bumper cars, we forced them to come into the warm party room for pizza and fries. They stuffed themselves with lightening speed, and then it was time to skate! They lined up to get their skates, and I have to say I was totally impressed that Ten knew her shoe size. Lauren's big brother Kevin helped me get Ten's skates laced on tight, I handed her a walker and put her on the ice!

She was a little unsure, and was barely moving her feet, but the walkers were great because she felt more confident and less likely to fall. As she made her way around the rink, she started moving her feet more and getting more centered in the walker. Lauren's cousin and big brother also came over and skated behind her for awhile.

She made several laps around the rink, and never fell! When it was time for cake and hot chocolate she exited the ice happy and said that ice skating was really fun.

After the party, we headed back over to Lauren & Amanda's house for dinner, hanging out and presents. Dinner was, as usual, delicious and the kids all happily played together with hardly any drama.

A happy birthday was had by all- especially the Birthday Girl, who we finally said good -bye to at 9pm so she could get some rest before her trip to Disneyland the next day.
Tenley passed out in the car somewhere around San Dimas, her first icecapade at an end.

Friday, July 30, 2010

OC Fair 2010

We always go to the (very) big LA County Fair every September because it happens right over Tenley's birthday; but it has actually been a few years since we've been to the OC Fair in Costa Mesa.

The good thing about the OC Fair is that it's quite a bit smaller than LA and therefore easier to do in a day. It's proximity to the coast also means that on a Wed in July it was glorious- 75 degrees and sunny with a light breeze. They also do these nice community service days on Weds where you bring in kid's books/canned goods/school supplies/etc. and they give you free admission and a carnival ride-sweet!

When we started taking Ten to the fair 4ish years ago, she liked: seeing the animals, eating popcorn, looking at everything, and taking a spin on the carousel. Now, it's straight to the midway. No stopping, no passing commercial buildings, no arts & crafts exhibits, no free entertainment, no food- just rides, rides rides!! This has been building steadily, and now that she's finally 44" and is starting to be able to go on things on the big midway, well there was no turning back for our little roller coaster loving sweetheart!

We wisely dropped $50 to get she and Jeff unlimited ride wristbands. She started with the swings, which she was delighted to go on all by herself.

Then she moved on to "the tall swings" ...the ones that go 115ft up in the air. She let Daddy go with her though.

Those were pronounced "so cool!" which was followed by "let's go again! C'mon Daddy!!" Repeat.

After 3 times on "the tall swings" and 2 trips on the "mouse trap coaster" with the spinning cars, Daddy needed a break from things that went in circles. So they headed off to the giant Euroslide.

Daddy was saved from returning to the circular rides by the arrival of Kim with Jaxon & Logan in tow. We headed off to see the farm animals and go to the kids midway so Logan could ride rides too.
What followed was a milking demonstration, some cool animal sightings, being licked by a baby jersey cow, a couple kiddie rides and a hot dog on a stick for all. And, one of Ten's last remaining early childhood joys- a pony ride.

...and then that was enough of that. Time to get back to the big midway and all the cool rides. She managed to talk Jaxon into a spin on the "mousetrap coaster", but by now it was close to 7 and the place was getting crowded, so Kim and I went and got Logan some fries and got in line for "the green rollercoaster" so they wouldn't have to wait as long. Jaxon passed on the green coaster, but it was only the prohibitivly long line that kept Ten from going again.
They hit a few other things, and then we said goodbye to K, J & L as they started the trek home. Then Ten got in her last desired ride before her wristband expired...this thing know the one, where it spins insanely fast and you get stuck to the wall?? I couldn't believe she was allowed to go on it by herself, but her Dad wouln't let her go alone. It was the only ride I worried about all day- not that she would be scared, but that either she or Jeff would barf, because when you hurl on that ride it shoots out and makes a mushroom cloud that flies back and hits you in the face. Ugh- the clean up would not be pretty.
Fortunately, neither of them yaked. Ten got off all smiles and giggles and would happily have gone again if her father's constitution had allowed.
Her wristband expired, she happily allowed us to go through the commercial building, and by then we were all wiped out and staggered to our car- gratefull that we had paid the extra $7 for preferred parking.
T-35 days to LA County Fair for a repeat!!