Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Halloween 2013: Bugs About A Bee!

Again, sorry for the trip back in time here, but we had a lot of Halloween fun this year - by the skin of our teeth... 

Here's a round-up of our activities in costume as a ladybug (or Ivy bug), a bird (Alice), a Queen Bee (duh) - complete with anatomically correct wings and antennae, and a bug and bird watcher/collector/general enthusiast. The title of this post comes from something Alice says all the time - "bugs about a beeeee!" - and we have no idea what it means or where it came from. It just seemed a fitting theme for this year's family costume!

On the Friday before Halloween, Alice's school put on a carnival in conjunction with our church. I took the day off to take care of some things, including finishing up the last bit of my costume and making some treats for the bake sale. Alice helped me with my projects and then we started to get ready to go. I won't go into the whole story here, but all of the sudden, my daughter who had been perfectly potty-trained for over a year was refusing to go to the bathroom. I admit, I did not handle the situation as gracefully as I could have and it escalated into a tantrum (on both ends) which ended with Alice going to bed early and us planning to skip the carnival so Alice didn't have an obviously imminent accident there. 

Jon had chili simmering in the crockpot all day that he was planning to enter in the chili cook-off. So at the last minute, he ran over his chili and my baked goods. Of course it looked like a wonderful time that we knew Alice would enjoy, so we rallied everyone and arrived halfway through to make the best of it. It was a good thing we went, because as soon as we got there, they announced Jon as the winner of the chili cook-off, unseating the champion for the past three years! Alice enjoyed trick-or-treating at all the school and church doorways, and playing the carnival games. She totally impressed us with her bean bag throwing abilities and actually aced just about every game she tried. 

Here's Ivy looking skeptical about the Halloween carnival...
We also went trick-or-treating at the LA Zoo's "Boo at the Zoo," but we didn't get to see any of the animals with their pumpkin treats.



the bird and the bee wings.










My work always has a fun lunchtime extravaganza, including a costume contest that features some truly amazing costumes, so Jon brought the kids in to play. A friend of mine happened to have some great red lipstick, so I gave myself a royal make-over.

The whole happy family!

And a very dramatic shot of me in our costume portrait studio!
This is about how I felt after all that, too...

And we STILL hadn't gone trick-or-treating! We headed out as soon as it was remotely dusk-ish.






We met up with one of our favorite neighborhood cats, Bones, who greeted us and escorted us down the sidewalk for a bit. Even after five years, he is actually one of the only neighbors we know at all but we were happy to find out that everyone on the street with little kids was congregating at one of the house's annual party. So once we'd trick-or-treated at all of the houses on our street and the girls were running out of energy, we headed over to the party and were able to meet most of our neighbors in one go!
We let Alice have a few pieces of her candy at the party and after she devolved into sugar-fueled gymnastics and started jumping on their couch, we excused ourself and headed home to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."
Since Halloween was on Thursday this year, we didn't want to carve our pumpkins on the weekend in case they didn't last until the holiday, and we didn't have time to carve them during the week, so we did it afterwards. This year, Alice wanted to try carving instead of just painting but she was awfully reluctant to stick her hand in that slimy pile of guts...

She finally did it though, and pulled out about three seeds before calling it quits. Unless she could wash her hand between each scoop, she was not interested...
eeeew, guts.

"can I wash my hands, now?"


Our carving tools were a little bit too small and precise for her little hands, so I helped her carve a simple face.

While Jon was working on his masterpiece, an interpretation of Mo Willems' pigeon.




I was skeptical, but thought it turned out really great! I, of course, had to go FROZEN and carved my favorite snowman. I think Olaf would really enjoy Halloween!




Alice is already talking about what she wants to be next year, but I have a feeling it will change plenty of times in the next 11 months - unlike this year, when I had to talk her out of recycling last year's costume! Hope your Halloween was safe and not at all scary!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Disneyland in October

I can't believe how behind I am on blog posts. We have been so busy just trying to keep up with life, as well as lots of little fun things here and there, I just haven't been able to get the photos and updates up. So pardon this trip back in time!

We went to Disneyland for Jon's birthday in early October. We went down as early as we could manage and checked in to the hotel before going to the park. After a castle photo op (I'm sorry I didn't get you in the shot, Ivy!) we headed straight for small world.
I think Ivy loves it's a small world just as much as Alice. This time, she wanted to stand on the seat and hold on to the seat railing and ride Jon's knee like a horse.

Jon convinced Alice to try riding Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. She was pretty reluctant but came running up afterwards and told me "I tried it and I LOVED it!" Then Jon was showing her all the fun things in Toon Town and Pluto wandered by to say hello.
Pluto helps Alice demo a building.
Then we headed over to Mickey and Minnie's house to see Alice's favorite friends.


We reminded Alice that she'd wanted to ask Minnie to dance. We also had to remind Alice that "dancing" involves using her feet and legs and not hanging like deadweight and pulling your partner's arms out of their sockets...

She wanted to dance with Mickey, too. But first, he showed her what Alice calls his "hot dog" dance, because that's how he dances on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to the "hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog" song.

We played around for a while and then had lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant overlooking the river and got a text that our room was ready. So we popped over to the hotel to get our beds all set up. We were excited to find that our room had a view of the park and decided that if we couldn't stay out late enough to watch the fireworks, we'd watch them cuddled up in bed. 

We corralled Ivy in her bed so she wouldn't get into everything and hurt herself and she practiced her new trick of standing up and walking all around the edges.
peek!
Alice wanted me to take Marie's picture at the window, and then she snuck in. I did not direct her to look dreamy and pensive, but I like it...
We brought Alice's little tent but forgot her pillow, and since we had a room with two Queen beds, we tried to talk Alice into giving the big bed a try. We practiced and tucked her all up in bed, and I tried to get a shot that wasn't blue because she was just so cute in such a big, cozy bed.

As we were waiting in line to get back in to the park, Jon looked down and realized we were standing right on our brick!
We couldn't find front-row seats for the parade, so we ended up behind a fence. Alice wasn't pleased with the view but Ivy had a great time standing at the fence and poking the people in front of her.
We headed over to the Halloween Carnival and the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo.
For the first time ever, Alice actually touched an animal. She had a good time petting all the goats and checking their tags to find out their names.



She was watching another goat and I noticed that she was just absentmindedly stroking this one's fur.
I tried to entertain Ivy by taking selfies. She's normally much more amused.

We enjoyed the pumpkin carving demo at the Carnival, and then Alice and I went off to color some Halloween masks. We were soon joined by a character in costume. I thought he was Chip, but he managed to correct me without saying a word. I told him that I remembered who was who because Chip has a chocolate chip nose and Dale has a red nose. Silly me, I thought this fellow's nose was brown but he assured me it was red. So I introduced Alice to Dale and we all had a good time coloring.


We hung around the carnival until it was time for our dinner reservation at the Big Thunder BBQ. It was Jon's birthday dinner request. Ivy normally wears just her diaper at mealtime, but that felt a little too hillbilly-ish, even with Billy Hill and the Hillbillies fiddling on stage. So we went with an acceptable hillbilly level of just overalls.

As we suspected, Ivy was super into the "all you care to eat" BBQ.
coleslaw.

more coleslaw.
There is not much cuter than watching a baby eat a cob of corn.





One super happy bug.

And one super happy dad, stuffed full of BBQ!
Alice enjoyed her meal as well, particularly the cornbread and the sausages. Afterward, she wanted to suck on a lemon. I tried to catch her "lemon shiver" face on camera.




We watched the parade again from our usual front-row spot - with ice cream, of course. And then hit up the last few things Alice wanted to do. Dumbo was first on the list. Ivy was sleeping in the Ergo, so she and I waited for Jon and Alice and I played around with tripod-free long exposure shots of the spinning pachyderms.

After Dumbo, Alice told us she was sleepy so we called it a night and headed for the hotel.
night night!

Alice conked out before we even made it through the gates. I had grand dreams of just plopping her into the big bed and Ivy settling down in her bed, but that was definitely not the way things went. After pajamas, potty, toothbrushing, etc., Alice cuddled up in bed and we were still about an hour away from fireworks. We cuddled, talked, stalled, for about an hour until the fireworks started. Then, since we were all awake, we hopped onto the floor and watched out the window. It would have been completely perfect, if the fireworks channel on the hotel TV was working. After that, Alice asked for her tent so we set that up and squished her inside with a full-size pillow and we all went to bed. Unfortunately, Ivy woke up about every 90 minutes, so Jon and I took turns getting up with her all night. 

It was one of the best days we've all had together at Disneyland, but definitely not one of our favorite nights. But it was fine and all we had to do the next day was play at the pool. So after breakfast at Tongaroa Terrace and some beignets from the Jazz Kitchen, we staked out a good spot at the pool. 

Alice always loves playing at the pool and this time, Ivy learned that if she got up on her hands and knees, she could crawl around without choking on water. She did her very first proper, hands-and-knees crawling right there at the Disneyland Hotel Pool. She's had lots of practice since then and she's an old pro by now!


We have a couple more special Disneyland trips coming up this year, it's going to be a busy season for us!