Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bubbles, Bubbles, My Bubbles

For those of you who do not have kids yet make a note of this: BUBBLES ARE GOLDEN.

I have a new calling at church and so for the last two hours of church every Sunday I'm in nursery watching the 18 months to 3 years olds. Generally at the very end we play with bubbles, magical bubbles. The kids all love it and I'm not ashamed to admit that bubbles still fascinate me, too.

Matt, Braden, and I went and sat on our front lawn and played with bubbles yesterday and had a great time together. This summer commit yourself to playing with bubbles, I promise you'll have fun and will find yourself in a good mood.

Braden loves bubbles and is so gentle with them, just like he is with most everything else.

The Pool

Last week we took Braden to the pool for the first time this season. We only spent a little time in the pee pool. Braden walked around, splashed a lot, and then totally ate it (I got it on video).

Braden looked like a little dancer extending his legs way out into the water. He must take after his daddy.

We spent most of our time in the big pool and met another family with a really cute girl named Lily. Lily is four months older than Braden. She kept giving him hugs and kisses and even kissed him on the lips a couple of times, which made us all laugh. They were an extremely nice family and we hope to run into them again at the pool.

We had a ton of fun and Matt and I totally got sunburned but Braden was fine. We hope to go to the pool a lot more this summer.

Christine's Birthday and Memorial Day Weekend

This last weekend was really great. My birthday was on Friday and Memorial Day was the following Monday so it was basically four days of awesomeness. Matt had to work one of his crazy shifts from 9 pm Thursday to 5 am Friday and so he came home from work and slept for several hours while Braden, my mom, and I began my birthday celebration at Disneyland and California Adventure.

We started off the day by going to the ticket booth to get my birthday pin and "Birthday Fun Card" in lieu of free admission to the park since I have an annual pass. We had tons of fun going on a bunch of rides and my mom treated us to my FAVORITE lunch in the whole wide world: Bakersfield Broccoli Cheese Soup in a sourdough bread bowl and a Coke in California Adventure. I'm salivating just thinking about it . . . Mmmmmm . . .

Braden rode on the carousel in Disneyland by himself for the first time and later rode King Triton's carousel in California Adventure by himself.

Matt met us at California Adventure in the early afternoon. We took Matt to Blue Sky Cellars because he had never been before. It's where they have a brief movie as well as models and drawings of all the future attractions they plan on putting in California Adventure. If you haven't been you have to go because it's really awesome. My mom and I have decided that we'll have to get passes through at least 2012 so we can see everything they currently have planned come to fruition.

We got to meet Handy Manny! He is one of Braden's and my favorites. However, I don't think Braden realized that this was Handy Manny.

My mom left early to go to the grocery store and then make my birthday dinner. Matt, Braden, and I continued to play at Disneyland and had a blast. We finished it off by going to the giant Disney store in Downtown Disney so I could use my Birthday Fun Card to buy some stuff. I was pleasantly surprised that I was actually able to get quite a bit of stuff for $69 (the value of the Birthday Fun Card).

We left in the early evening and came home to a beautifully prepared dinner. My mom made tomato, basil, feta pasta; fruit salad; and bread. It was a perfect meal. She even bought gorgeous tulips to put on the table. I have the sweetest mom in the world.

After dinner we did presents and cake. I was totally spoiled with presents and the cake was my favorite Costco cake. It was the best birthday I have had in a very long time and pretty much a perfect day. Thanks family!

On Saturday morning we drove up to Newport Beach to hang out with the Rob, Sarah, and Oliver Winn. On the 405 before Jeffrey and University we saw this:

We were in hysterics we were laughing so hard. I thought it was a giant stuffed bear at first but it began clawing at the air and we realized it was a person in a very large bear suit, or a giant stuffed bear that had been magically brought to life by fairies. I'm not sure but I'm guessing it was a person in a bear suit.

We met the Winns at their place and then drove down to Balboa Island where we walked around, got frozen bananas and reminisced about "Arrested Development," and took the ferry over to the peninsula. We walked around the Fun Zone and the shops on the peninsula and walked out on the pier. We came back on the ferry and the Winns took us to a farmers market in Corona Del Mar. The fruit was AMAZING. It was a really fun (and delicious) experience! Afterwards, we went to Taco Rosa (another Winn find) by the Newport Beach Temple and had a wonderful lunch. We had a blast!

On Memorial Day Matt, Braden, and I went to Disneyland again. We got there when it opened at 8 am. It actually wasn't crowded at all in the morning! We were really surprised that we were able to get on rides so quickly on Memorial Day.

We went to the Pirate's Lair (formerly Tom Sawyer's Island) which we hadn't done since it had been revamped. It was really cool! There are tons of interactive things to do and of course lots of caves and tunnels. Braden loved being able to roam around and it will be even better when he's a little bigger and he can navigate the tunnels without us having to hold him.

While we were on Alice and Wonderland the ride stopped and we were stuck at the top of the vine (the part that winds outside of the ride). Because of regulations we were the last ones to be evacuated and they had to manually move our caterpillar car down. Apparently if we were to walk on the vine and the fire department saw, they would shut down Disneyland because it's too dangerous.

Braden was not a happy camper.

It was a bummer having to wait all of that time but the awesome thing was that we got two "Attraction Readmission" passes which allow you to jump to the front of any line to go on a ride. We used the first one to go on Finding Nemo which had an insanely long line and we tried to use the second on Small World (since we'd been on pretty much every other ride already) but the nice ride operator, Mike, told us to keep it and use it on another ride and put us at the front of the line anyway.

Braden passed out on Small World and so we gave our second ticket to another family to use for whatever ride they wanted.

All in all we were able to go on 16 rides in 5 hours. It was amazing!

We left around 1:30 and went home for a couple hours before we went to a barbecue at my grandma's nursing home. The food was great and it turned out to be a lot of fun. Matt made the day of one of the Filipino employees there because Matt spoke to him in Tagalog; it was so fun to watch them talk and joke with each other.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Special Announcement

We are going to THAILAND in August! Woohoo!!!

We weren't planning on doing any more big trips this year but we've been really REALLY trying to save money even more than usual. I cook all of our meals now; I think we've been out to eat once in about three months (and my meal was for free because it was a birthday e-mail club thing). We've cut out pretty much everything except for house bills, insurance, car maintinence costs (Matt and my dad have even been doing a lot of the work on our cars lately), food, toiletries, and diapers. No DVDs, CDs, books (love the library), snacks, clothes, toys, shoes, purses, trips to the salon for a haircut, text messaging, sodas, etc. BUT now we can comfortably afford Thailand. Not to mention there are killer deals to go there right now. So come join us! :)

We'll be there for most of August so we'll actually be doing something exciting for our anniversary for once. We are so thrilled!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Too Much Fun To Handle

We have been keeping ourselves super busy the past couple of weeks (what else is new?) but we've been having a blast!

Matt got what I would like to call a secret promotion. He didn't get a raise or anything but now his title is "Project Engineer." It's a secret promotion because Matt didn't realize that he was a Project Engineer until he was filling out his timecard one day and saw his new position on it. It's really exciting because at his last job he was only a Staff 1 Engineer even though he had worked there for over a year. He was hired on to ERI as a Senior Staff Engineer and already he's a Project Engineer!

I got my ring back last week. I find myself constantly staring at the prongs, making sure everything looks secure.

They did a really beautiful job repairing it. Thanks again, Mom, for finding my diamond!
It was Matt's brother, A.J.'s, birthday on Cinco de Mayo and so after he and his wife, Bibian, had spent the day at Disneyland they visited us.
Because we had cake.
Who can blame them?
I'd visit most anybody for cake.
It was fun to see them and Braden loved spending time with his aunt and uncle. A.J. and Bibian have moved back to Mission Viejo for the time being so we look forward to spending more time with them and with Bibian's baby belly.

Last Friday, Braden and I went to the park with Sarah and Lucy Sherman. It was the first time Braden had been to the park since he has been walking. Technically, he goes to the park everyday on our morning walk, but this time he wasn't in the stroller and could meander all on his own. He loved it!

He shovel-napped Lucy's shovel for a while, but didn't dig with it. He just liked carrying it around and occasionally put it in his mouth because that's what he does. Everything goes in the mouth. I managed to prevent him from eating a few rocks while we were there.

On Saturday we went to Laguna Beach. We checked out the scene of May 1st's accident (ugh) and walked along Main Beach and up PCH.

There is a small playground on Main Beach and so Braden got to swing for a while which was pretty much his favorite thing ever.

He is such a happy boy!
On Mother's Day we had our friends Rob and Sarah, and their son, Oliver, over for dinner. They just finished law school at BYU and will be here for the summer if not for longer. Both Rob and Sarah worked at law firms in Irvine (or was it Costa Mesa? It's the big glass building off of the 405 just north of Boomers and south of John Wayne Airport) last summer. Hopefully the firm Rob is working at this summer will offer him a fabulous position with gobs of money.

Matt, Braden, and I got to meet Oliver for the first time and he is so stinking cute! He was such a good little baby and made Braden look like a complete wild child by contrast.

The babies were totally into Veggies Tales and Elmo. When the TV is on it's like nothing else in the world exists. Dani, I don't think you ever grew out of that. ;)

This Wednesday, Matt, Braden, and I went to California Adventure and Disneyland. Braden rode on Mickey's Fun Wheel (the ferris wheel) for the second time and like last time we went in one of the swinging gondolas.
Braden still loves us anyway. Bless that child.

We took Braden to "Playhouse Disney Live" in California Adventure for the first time. At first it was obvious that he couldn't figure out what we were doing, and was getting bored quick.

But then the show started and he was in love. He was standing and clapping and dancing and "singing."

He loved seeing all of his favorite characters. I realized that I need to watch more grown up TV because I knew every song. Am I the only one who gets "Handy Manny" stuck in my head all the time???
Matt and I really enjoyed it, too. It was cute and was the highlight of Braden's day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One CrAzY Week

This past week Matt worked in Santa Monica like he did the week before. By the end of the week he had put in about 70 hours. Poor Matty. He didn't have much of a week because he was either working, driving to or from Santa Monica, or trying to get some sleep since he was working such long hours.

For Braden and I, this week was absolutely insane . . . does anybody else have a hard time saying "insane" without thinking of "THE CLIFFS OF INSANITY!!!!!" or is it just me? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go to Blockbuster right now and rent "The Princess Bride."



I'll wait.

OR, you can come over to my house and we'll watch it together . . . I'll make brownies . . .

Anywho, this week started out great. Diane Arsenijevic and her sister Karen and all of their kids came out to visit for the week. Diane lives in Illinois and Karen lives in Wisconsin. My mom met Diane through work years ago when my mom used to travel to Green Bay, WI a lot. On Monday, my mom, Braden, and I drove to Balboa Island and had lunch with everyone at Wilma's Patio and walked around the island a bit. We took the ferry to the peninsula and walked around there, too.
Karen, Nadia, Bennet, Derek, Katrina, Diane, and my mom on the ferry. The boys are Karen's and the girls are Diane's.

Diane, Karen, and the kids decided to go whale watching and so my mom, Braden, and I went home. Braden had had enough excitement for the day anyway . . .

On Wednesday, we joined Diane and the family at Disneyland and California Adventure. It was Braden's 8th time to Disneyland and his 7th to California Adventure. I think he'll qualify to be a Disney tour guide by 18 months.

We all went together on Finding Nemo and Braden got to do his favorite thing: hang out with Diane.

Braden's sign of affection is smacking your face. Braden really likes Diane, can't you tell?

Karen and the boys left the group to do all of the wild rides while us girls and Braden hit up the kid rides. As we exited through the castle we saw Cinderella's fairy godmother and had to stop and take a picture. Being the fairy godmother at Disneyland is my mom's dream job.

Diane and the girls in front of the castle. Nadia likes Captain Hook and adventure rides. Katrina loves princesses. They are so different but both are sooo cute and sweet.

We hung out in California Adventure for a few hours. After the Monster's Inc. ride we hit up "A Bug's Land."

Nadia drove Diane around in their bumper car.

But Katrina wanted my mom to drive their bumper car.

This day was also too much excitement for Braden.

Although he only slept for 20 minutes or so. He's really well behaved at Disneyland and California Adventure. Braden, my mom, and I left around 7pm and drove home.

Little did I know what I would discover the next morning . . .

Thursday morning I picked up my wedding ring to put it on and looked down at it to discover that the center diamond was gone!!! My heart still sinks into my stomach just thinking about it. I was convinced I had lost it at Disneyland or California Adventure since the last time I remembered actually looking down at my ring was in California Adventure in the early afternoon. My mom, dad, and I began tearing the house and my car apart. We did this for over an hour. I was prepared to take pipes apart, dig through Braden's poop, and search the Disneyland parking structure when my mom discovered the diamond under the fridge.

No woman should have to endure such torture.

My ring is in the shop getting repaired and I should get it back within the next couple of days.

After that incident, I should have known that I needed to stay at home and let the black cloud over my head pass, but did I? Of course not!

On Friday, Braden, my mom, and I drove to Laguna Beach to have lunch with Diane and her family before they flew home. I drove up the hill on N. Coast Hwy where I normally park and then . . .

Ohhh I'm getting sick to my stomach just thinking about it . . .

And then, this happened:

I had turned on my left turn indicator to go into a parking spot on the opposite side of the street but the woman behind me (for some strange reason) thought I was pulling over to the right and crossed over the yellow line on the left side of me to go around me and she hit my car. Fortunately, no one was hurt. As I pulled over to the side of the road, parts kept falling off of the car but I didn’t realize how much damage there was until I got out of the car . . . and then I burst into tears.

The woman's car took out my headlight, hubcap, one side of the bumper, damaged the strut and wheel, bent the fender down onto the hood, and totaled the fender.

Where's the headlight? Oh yeah, it's on the road 20 feet behind me in a pile of wreckage!

Where the fender and the hood used to meet.

The grill and bumper hanging down off the car.

Crunched fender and missing hubcap.

The lady who hit me actually turned out to be a lovely woman and was extremely apologetic and totally accepted all the blame. She and I both called our insurance companies and got all of that dealt with. There wasn’t too much damage to her car although it will still be expensive. Her front passenger door had three deep scrapes that bent the metal a little and both of her hubcaps on that side of the car were damaged. Her fender was a little crunched, too, but her car was completely drivable, mine was not. My bumper was dragging on the street and I’m not sure how much the damaged strut would have affected the drivability.

We had to get it towed to a repair shop and Braden waved goodbye to the car as it was put onto the tow truck, which was actually really cute.

Diane was so sweet and drove up to keep Braden entertained while I handled all of the insurance stuff. My mom gave Braden snacks, talked a lot with the lady who had hit me, and had to drag the broken wreckage left by my car off of the road.

It was scary but we were so lucky that nobody was hurt and that the damage was mostly cosmetic and didn’t damage the engine or frame. It will still be extremely expensive to repair; thank goodness for insurance and thank goodness I was not at fault.

Needless to say, I kept the weekend pretty low-key. I figure there's no sense in me tempting the fates any more than I already have.

BUT, on a high note, Braden's finally walking! HOORAY!

UPDATE 5/4/2009:
I got a call from the collision repair place this morning and it's going to cost $3493.30 for the repairs (oh how I love my car insurance company right now) and I should get the car back on May 12th.