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!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tenley vs. The Seaweed

We went to the beach a few weeks ago and got these fun pictures of Tenley playing with all the seaweed she could get her hands on. Enjoy!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, April 30, 2010

1st Dance: 2010 Father/Daughter Dance

Ten has been very excited all week. Why? Because she knew that today was the Father/Daughter dance at her school. That meant she got to glam up and have Daddy all to herself . What could be better?

Last week I bought their tickets, found Ten this neon polk-dot number to wear (I loved the post-Easter 60% off, she loved the giant polka-dots), and orderd her a tiny Tenley-size corsage as a special surprise.

Then we made a plan: Jenny's Nails for a mani/pedi, and then to Aunty Meg's house to do her hair- because if anyone could get Ten's hair to curl (and stay curled) and look cute for 3+ hours, it was Aunty Meg.

Right after school, we headed to Jenny's where Ten chose neon green for her toes and neon pink with glitter over it for her nails. She sat very still, and by the time my pedi was done, she was all dry and ready to go get curls!

Aunty Meg and Uncle Dan celebrated the milestone of "1st Dance" by buying Ten her first piece of "real" jewlery. Ten was overwhelmed with this dainty little pearl and diamond on a 24k chain. They had the chain shortend so she could wear it, and it provided the finishing touch to her ensemble.

Aunty Meg had her arsenal of styling products and piping hot curling iron ready to go when we got there. She patiently pulled the front of Ten's hair back into three twists and then curled the whole thing in ringlets. She finished it off with ribbons and pink crystal hair screws.

We had just finished when the doorbell rang, signifying that her "date" was here to pick her up. She squealed and said "Wait! Don't let him see me yet!" as she ran down the hall to put her dress and sandals on.

Daddy presented her with her corsage. She didn't get it until we explained that it was a boquet you could wear. Roses you could wear??? She couldn't wait to show her friends!

I'm glammed up, wearing roses, and I'm the center of attention. Life is good!

The 2 best things that ever happened to me!
After patiently posing for the family paparazzi, they were off to the dance! I stuck around Aunty Meg's long enough to hand her kleenex as she teared up looking at Tenley's baby picture hanging in her room and muttering "Oh she's just so grown up!!"

The line for pictures was painfully long when they arrived, but Jeff & Ten dutifully waited so we could get pix of them before they were all sweaty and Ten's curls were gone.
About the dance itself, Jeff said:
" The dance was more crowded than I expected. My first thought was that all the dads would be lined up around the outside of the room while the girls stood in the middle giggling and talking to each other. To my surprise, everyone was dancing. There were girls of all ages, and Tenley immediately found her friends Emma, Ashlyn and Makeda. They were all so cute and loved comparing dresses and hair.
The DJ was playing all kinds of music- he had a pretty good mix. At one point he told all the girls to pay attention to the dads because they would know what to do with this song- and he played The YMCA. Tenley loved doing the hand motions, and I found it particularly funny when the DJ abruptly turned off the music and all the dads were singing.
We did The Chicken Dance, The Hokey Pokey and had a mean conga line going at one point. When the DJ played Butterfly Kisses, Tenley grabbed my hand and said, "This is slow sappy music. Let's go get a cookie." We got back in time for me to overhear one dad
tell another one that the next time he dances with his daughter to this song it will be at her wedding when he's giving her away.
All the girls enjoyed themselves, and I even got to take a little break when Tenley and Ashlyn decided they'd rather dance with each other.
Just a short while later, Tenley informed me that she would like to go to dinner now, because her legs were going to fall off. We collected her swag ( a pink carnation and a magic wand) and said good night to her friends. "
Jeff told Ten she could pick anywhere she wanted for dinner, and she chose......Coco's. Ok.
It was apparently during dinner that she asked her dad if he knew how to make spaghetti tacos. He was clearly confused, so Ten finally supplied that she was talking about the ones that Spencer makes on iCarly. Jeff inquired if she had ever had spaghetti tacos, and since she had not, how did she know she liked them? Her response was to fix her father with a what-are-you,-stupid?? stare and say "iCarly likes them!" with all the DUH! tone her little voice could muster. The woman sitting behind her nearly chocked on her $7.99 steak she was laughing so hard.
At 8:15 2 very excited dogs let me know that 1 very very tired little girl was home. I knew she was wiped by how heavy she was, and the fact that she begged me to take out her hair and get the dress off that just 3 hours earlier she couldn't wait to put on.
She managed to stay awake for stories, but she was gone the moment we turned out the light- my tiny Cinderella, dreaming happily of her first ball.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Smarty Pants

We always said Ten was a bright little bugger. Ever since she was a baby, we could see the wheels turning in her little mind. Brilliance would come in tiny kernels: "octopus" as a first word, the ability to add in preschool- although she didn't know what she was doing (look Mommy 2 Cooper cars, 3 Bugs, and 4 Elements...that's 9 cars!), and lately she has pushed herself to figure out cursive writing (2 years early) and it's frighteningly legible.

Every parent thinks their kid is smart as a whip...but it's nice to occasionally get validation. This year, Ten got an Academic Achievement Award in Jan., in Feb. she was sorted into the advanced reading group, and today she made the Honor Roll. Actually, she made the Honor Roll with High Honors - meaning that 80% or more of her 2nd Trimester grades are at "A" and nothing is below "P" (proficient).

Way to go Ten! We're SO proud of you!!

Mrs. G's Class High Honors kids: Connor, Michael & Tenley

Smart is Sexy: Tenley & her buddy Em both made High Honors!

Can't wait to frame this!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Bunny

Spring has come once again, and with it comes our annual trip to visit the Easter Bunny. We have taken Tenley to visit the same Easter Bunny every year: he's the kid sized audio-animatronic one at South Coast Plaza. He's really cool because he's controlled by someone off site who has a camera and a microphone so he can talk to and interact with each kid individually. The other really awesome thing is that because we have gone every year, Ten's Bunny pix are a great chronicle of how much she's grown and changed during the year.
So here ( in order) are Tenley's Easter Bunny pictures. Hope you enjoy the stroll down memory lane as much as we do!





Monday, March 08, 2010

Gymn Pix

So I don't think we've ever really discussed Ten & Gymnastics. Ten has always had oodles of energy- the kind that makes you, the parent, want to tear your hair out because she hits the ground running and never stops...and it's been this way since the day they handed her to us. As a result, we have constantly looked for new and fun ways to wear her out since she was 9 months old.

She started gymnastics in Aug of '08- right in the middle of the Beijing Olympics- because "China Sister" Lauren had her birthday party at her gym and Ten loved it.

In August of '09 she got her first trophy for one year of continuous attendance. She was so excited to finally get hardware!
In September, she turned 5, and about 3 days after her birthday, Coach Tiffany called to invite her to join Level 1 Team Gymn. You could have pushed us over with a feather. Really? Turns out that Ten really is really good at gymnastics...and considering the amount of time she spends vaulting around our living room, she should be!

Team Gymn is not what you see on TV at the Olympics- that's Artistic Gymnastics (and you must be at least 7 to compete). Team Gymn involves a team of no less than 6 girls and/or boys who as a group do: vault, floor routine, tumbling, and mini trampoline.
Here are some random pix of The Fireflies at their competitions!

The Fireflies

At march in

About to start their floor routine...

Ten & Em in bridge

At the top of her tumbling pass

About to take off for vault...

In flight... (check out her awesome form!!)

Ok, the last pic is a really unattractive shot...but I put it in so everyone could 1. admire her amazing form, and 2. admire her incredible muscles!

Look at her extended leg! You could bounce a quarter off her tiny booty!