Sunday, April 24, 2011

The boys had other stuff going on so it was just the three of us and my mom for Easter day. It was so nice last year we decided to go to the Mission Inn again for brunch. Unusual for Easter in SoCal, it was cloudy and a bit misty which some may have seen as a bummer but I saw as the perfect photo weather! And, there are few places prettier than the Mission Inn for photos anyway so I was in hog heaven. You can see more pictures of this truly gorgeous hotel here.

The dress G is wearing might my favorite one ever. The pearl and jeweled detail is just gorgeous and the skirt is so full and crisp that the dress will actually stand up on its own hahaha!!! I had another dress chosen for her but when I saw this one it called out to me. It didn't hurt that it was actually really cheap yeah!! A true princess dress for my very lovely little princess.

The food --eggs benedict, shrimp, crab legs, fresh strawberries and whipped cream and tasty desserts --was awesome of course. G liked the talking parrots and the bunnies passing out baskets and eggs to the kids. It was nice!

You can see the parrots in the background. We got them to say quite a few things: good girl, hello, bye-bye. G was thrilled!

Easter Eve/Morn
Saturday night we stopped by the store to pick up carrots for the bunny (two with stems as Bunny had advised us earlier in the week was his preference). G put them on the bunny plate (yes, we own a bunny plate lol!) in the living room and decided to leave her bunny picture she'd made a few days earlier because she decided Bunny would be interested. Who wouldn't be? We were set! Well, at least she was. After she went to bed Bobby and I had to spend about an hour cleaning up to ensure a good easter morning hunting experience. Messy houses do not make for good egg hunts.

G woke up her normal bright and early the next morning but Bobby was able to convince her to stay in bed with us for awhile before we went to see what bunny had brought. I'm not sure how he did it because I was snoozing but hooray for Daddy! Once downstairs G made quick time of picking up the eggs then sorting through them all to get the candy. Then she had some "breakfast" aka candy while she played with the eggs some more. It was a nice morning!

Posing with the bunny enticements
Laughing like a hyena at something funny daddy said
Coming down the stairs the next morning

Loading up her bucket for the second time. Fortunately Bunny only put one starburst in each egg so even though there were 50 eggs the candy situation isn't too bad.

Posing again, this time with her haul

Lucky Mommy Easter Party
I've written before that we're fortunate to belong to a small but awesome group of families that have adopted from china. One of the moms, Michelle, was kind enough to host a party for the kids that included an egg hunt, games and lunch! G was quiet but had a really good time and the moms all got to hang out and talk about mom stuff. Great afternoon!

Here's the group from left to right: Becky, Ryan, Sophie, Gracie, Katie, Kyle, and Georgie! I'll admit its not the greatest pic but at least they'll all stand together now, that's progress.
G with her customized egg hunt bucket and ready for the hunt
G liked the egg on a spoon thing.

Smiley girl finally

Egg Art!
It wouldn't be easter without some colored eggs, right? G's a bit older now so I figured we were ready to move up to something a little more advanced. I came across this little dye set that included paint rollers that I thought would appeal to her. Boy was I right! G loved it. Being a persnickety little thing she was a bit weirded out by the paint getting onto her hands at first but after a moment or so she decided it would "wash off and be OK, mommy." Once she came to that conclusion, there was no stopping her!!

The funny things about the eggs in our house is that other than decorate them they serve no other purpose. Every once in awhile we might eat one but the bunny only hides plastic so... we color, we fridge and then in a few days I toss. Seems so wasteful but I guess the fun is worth a dozen eggs!G takes her egg decorating VERY seriously as you can seeThe hands of an artiste!
I think they turned out really pretty. G with the finished productG has gotten really good at using scissors. Of course it doesn't hurt that she practices about an hour a day. The kid really, really loves to cut stuff up. Lots of times we just give her some notebook paper, a few pens and a pencil and she's entertained forever! This time she asked me to draw a bunny. I'm no artist but I managed a crude outline for her on some pink paper. Within a few minutes she'd cut it out, drawn in the details of the face and whiskers and then glued it to the background paper. Other than having to tape on one small piece on the top of bunny's head I thought she did a great job!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Bunny!
Finally G got to see the big furry guy. Things started out a bit rocky. We got there a few mins early but the bunny was late. Ok. Then, the camera wasn't working and we had to wait about 15 mins for them to fix it... hmm, ok. Then, the little girl in front of us was a crier. This always stresses G out a bit. She's ok if its just for a second but the girl was crying and fussing for a good bit while they were trying to fix the camera so G started to get kind of quiet and nervous. But finally, camera was fixed, crying girl had moved on and it was our turn. As luck would have it, G happied right up and turned on the charm!!! Yeah!! I think the pix came out super cute :-) During the visit we were also able to confirm that Bunny would prefer 2 carrots over 1 and stems left on rather than chopped off. G told him she'd leave them in the living room for him. So even if the pix wouldn't have turned out super cute, the trip would have been productive just for clarification of the logistics ;-) G's giving him a kiss on the nose. She's such a sweet little girl.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mr MacGregor's Garden Easter activities started with a return trip to the LA Arboretum for their Beatrix Potter in the Garden event. We did it last year and G enjoyed it so much we thought we'd give it another try. There were lots of crafts, a petting zoo or sorts, the always impressive peacocks and a yummy brunch! The peacocks are so beautiful. G was better with them this year. She was able to move to be more patient and not run toward them so they stayed around a little longer.
G getting ready for the egg hunt with only one thing on her mind... get the GOLDEN egg!
The huntress
Success!! She found the gold! She did have a bit of help from mommy and daddy. We suggested looking in the deep grass and it worked! She received a sticker book from the gift shop for her efforts.
More peacock pictures. I wish I was a better photographer.
In the craft building G made a bunny ear headband, tissue paper flowers, a boo boo bunny from a washcloth, and other fun things.

Ahhh, a sweet little bunny rabbit!
I never get tired of looking at her beautiful and sweet little face

With Peter. G asked me to tell her the Peter Rabbit story several times during lunch while we waited for Peter to arrive

As we were getting ready to leave we came across this bird. His feathers were closed but then, all of a sudden he spread. He spent several minutes giving the gathered crowd a show turning slowly from side to side every 30 secs or so. He was very proud.

At the petting zoo they had tortoises including a huge one that G decided she was afraid of.G just loved the ducklings and baby chicks. I did too. They were so cute!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hopping into spring! We got G's official Easter pix done yesterday and they turned out awesome!! I'm sure by next weekend the photo places will be packed. G had a really good time playing around with the photographer. She really does love to have her picture taken and has gotten even better at looking toward the camera rather than always glancing to the side a the last second. Yeah!!! I was originally going to get her a typical easter dress --they're so pretty and G loves to twirl-- but came across this funky handpainted set and thought it would be a fun choice. G loved it and was super comfy. Halfway through the pictures, it occurred to me that maybe the top was on backwards ??? so I switched it around

:-) This is G doing her Easter Bunny impression!

This picture makes me laugh. Can anyone say Home Alone?
My beautiful, sweet, silly girl!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Homeward Bound! We awoke to find the ship had already docked. Having put our luggage out the night before, we just had to get ready and stuff the last few items into our backpacks before grabbing a bite to eat. Celebrity has lots of opportunities for “professional” photos to be taken throughout the cruise. Not as many, varied or good as those offered by Carnival but still fun. They offered a service where you could pay a single price and get all your photos on a cd. If you planned on buying more than just a few photos, it turned out to be a great deal so we signed up for it on the second night or so. G loves to have her pix done! I mean she really loves it. So each night between dinner and the show, we’d stop by and let her have pix done. Sometimes we joined in, sometimes not. We got lots of very average photos but some of them are pretty great.

The night before disembarkation I got the two CDs, plugged them into the laptop and found that only one of them was working. When I called guest services I was told it was no problem. I should just take the cd down the next morning and the photo people would fix it. So the next morning we leisurely got some breakfast then, about half an hour before our assigned time to leave the ship, we went to the photo area. Closed. By the time they found someone it had been ½ and hour and then it took the guy about 45 mins to fix the problem. We finally got off the ship at about 10am. We still weren’t too stressed. Then we went down and collected our luggage and encountered the world’s longest customs line. Seriously, it was hundreds of people long and it wasn’t moving AT ALL. This was when we started to get a little worried. I calculated that it was going to take us an hour or more, at least, to get through the line. Plus we still needed to taxi to the airport, get through security etc and our plane was leaving at 12:10 pm. What to do?

Urged by another passenger who was standing in line behind us, we walked to the very front of the line and as politely as possible explained the situation and asked if we could go ahead of them. We must have looked and sounded pretty desperate because, even though they had stood in line for an hour, they let us in. Thank goodness!!! I thanked them profusely and we went on our way. As it turned out, we made it to the airport and through security fairly quickly and had about 30 mins to stand around before boarding. There’s no question in my mind that we would have missed our plane if we wouldn’t have cut the line.

After two flights, a short layover and a shuttle ride from the airport, we arrived home about 14 hrs after disembarking the ship. In some ways its nice to be home: my soft bed, my roomy house (ship cabins are small) and my own blowdryer (the one on the ship sucked!) but, honestly, I could have stayed on the ship forever.

OK, back to reality.

Sea Day/Navigation Bridge Tour On the first or second day of the cruise we got a note saying that we’d been invited to do a navigation bridge tour on a sea day and that we’d be provided with the details soon. The first sea day came and went with nothing so I finally called and was told that they had forgotten to send the follow up invites but we’d go the next sea day. Sure enough our invitation arrived. I was super excited because I’d always wanted to see what the navigation bridge looked like. On this particular ship, it seemed that they only offered the tour to about 250-300 people –about 10% of the passengers onboard.

There wasn’t too much to it. The whole thing lasted about 20 mins. But, it was neat to go up there and see where the ship is captained. I was surprised by how empty the navigation bridge was. The view from up there was fantastic!!!

The rest of the day was spent packing and getting things together to disembark the following morning. Packing up to go home is always my least favorite part of traveling. I generally despise packing and I never really want to go home so it’s a double whammy.

We did more eating on the last day than any other. We did a super small breakfast then snacked off and on the rest of the day. We tried a few things we hadn’t gotten to like the sushi. It was good not great but the miso soup was awesome! Dinner was interesting. I had a lobster ravioli served with spinach and a spicy crayfish sauce (I guess that’s how they use all the leftover lobster!) then Argentinean steak churrasco. Bobby didn’t care for it but I thought it was tasty. Desert was warm chocolate melting cake. Celebrity definitely stole the idea from Carnival but didn’t do it as well.

After that we went to the show which was a combination of the last three performers: the comedian (again funny and this time shorter so G just drew in her book), a magician/comedian (very entertaining although I didn’t always get the magic part) and a musical group called Kimiko which was a fantastic guitarist and a singer from England who did covers from the Eagles, Tina Turner, etc combined with some very weak comedy. Overall a very nice evening!

This is our official "bridge tour" photo I was surprised by how empty it was. I guess they need a good view. My little cutie! Not a great pic of G of course but you get a sense of how pretty the view was from up thereG with the crew member who did our tour. I think he was a second engineer or something. He was greek I think and had gone to school specifically to obtain a degree in nautical engineering. I've never heard of that type of educational program in the US other than at a military school. G loved those stairs! Eating sushi! Again, the buffet dining room area was completely empty. I never could figure out where everyone was??? Mostly she just eats the rice but she loves miso soup Tomorrow: home :-(