Tuesday, November 25, 2008

San Diego Zoo

We loved experiencing the San Diego Zoo! Ella found a new favorite animal, the klipspringer, a small African antelope known for it's rock climbing and jumping abilities.

Louisa thrilled at seeing the baby animals: both the panda and the 4 small New Guinea singing dogs.

Both girls were terribly scared of the bears (must be all our Teton training), and Steve and I were amazed by the activity levels and strength of the hippos.

Hangin' at the Hotel

While Steve was attending meetings, we enjoyed hanging out at our great hotel - both in the room and at the pool!

Across the street was a fabulous urban park that the girls begged to visit daily. They loved playing on the equipment, which really engaged their balancing skills as well as their creative minds.

Sand-Dollar Season

It is sand-dollar time on the beaches of Coronado!

Sea World

On the first full day of our vacation, we visited Sea World, one of my childhood favorites! The park was practically empty, so we enjoyed all the attractions up close (or as close as we wanted to be in the case of the water shows!).

One of our first stops was at the dolphin pools, just in time for their feeding!

Both girls loved visiting the tide pools, where our guide gave us a private tour (due to the lack of crowds) and allowed the girls to hold the sea stars out of the water (although posted signs said this was against the rules).

The girls loved the Sesame Street section of the park, where there were Disney-style rides and fun places to climb and play.

New Children's Museum

The highlight of our vacation was The New Children’s Museum in San Diego, a 50,000-square-foot facility devoted to visual arts. At a time when schools have cut back on arts education, the museum puts the visual arts front and center in a soaring, light-filled space.

On one gallery wall, there’s a quote from Andy Warhol, who declares, “Art is what you can get away with.” And here, kids get away with a lot!

Outside at this museum, kids can paint an old Volkswagen bug, get hands-on (a nice word for messy) with clay projects or create bubbles larger than their bodies.

Inside they can climb on a mural, engage in a crazy pillow fight, and ride around on Legways, scooter-like vehicles designed similarly to the Segway, but meant to be propelled by human power. This is a museum to engage bodies as well as imaginations.

Minute for minute, this was the kids favorite time of the vacation!

Monday, November 24, 2008

We've Been Playing...

We spent the past week playing (while Steve was in meetings for the PM&R Annual Convention) in San Diego.

No, this is not a repeat post. I was just in California - infact on Coronado - with girlfriends. Yes, I do feel spoiled. Very spoiled.

Our hotel was adjacent to the Convention Center and right on the Marina...

We enjoyed lots of quality time together, fun adventures, and eating out at great restaurants! More pictures to come in the days to follow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We've Got a Winner!

It was announced this evening that Ella won 2nd place in Literature for her Reflections Contest Entry titled "Sparkles"!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Work

We gathered outside today, under blue skies, to work side by side together.

The kids played as they worked, and felt great satisfaction in their accomplishments. Steve and I raked leaves into piles, and the kids jumped into and ran through them. The girls helped place leaves into bags. They do this so well, perhaps because they are close to the ground! Louisa loved wearing one of her best skirts for the occasion. Ella was pleased to learn how to tie and stack the bags.

I seems that we learn best about how to be a happy family by working together. And with this kind of learning...there is always more to be done!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

California Dreamin'

A week ago Thursday, I awoke in the Gilbert's heavenly Seahaven beach house on Coronado Island with a group of my dear friends from Chicago.

As part of our annual gathering, we thoroughly enjoyed being together for an extended weekend of fun, shopping, gifts, and shared good things.

In the photo above, Krista is modeling the aprons Brooke and I brought as gifts.

We loved exploring San Diego (including Amanda's members-only wholesale club Shinoda, which is like Tai Pan on steroids). It is fun to explore anywhere in a car like this!

We slept nightly (although our nights were quite short due to fun-filled days extended with stories and jokes) all together in "Bunkport" the Gilbert Grandkid hangout - a fun room filled with 12 bunkbeds.

One of my favorite activities was our Saturday bike ride around the island.

And my soul was filled with walks along the beach, and time spent in the sand.

I feel so grateful to share lifelong bonds with these dear, sweet friends: Amanda, Brooke, Chris, Emily, Jen, Krista and Merrily. Thank you ladies for teaching and tutoring me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baby Ethan

Accompanying his mother on vacation was baby Ethan, Jennifer's 5th child. Little E was always happy, sweet and smiling. Isn't he darling?

Many of the beach shots were taken by our talented friend Merrilly.

Project: Complete!

A little project I've been working on to brighten up our kitchen.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Ella Jayne Edgley
Reflections Contest Entry - 2008
Age: 7


Once my younger sister and I bought some sparkle spray
at the beauty store. We loved putting it on all over our
bodies, especially our cheeks and foreheads. People
probably noticed that it was just artificial.

If you are wearing sparkle spray, people can still tell that it’s
just artificial.

What is on the outside doesn’t matter as much as what is on
the inside –
your personality,
your kind heart,
your mind.

A big house doesn’t matter. Fancy clothes aren’t all that
important either.

Sparkles are beautiful, especially sparkles that are inside.
If you are good, you will sparkle.
People who help are sparkly.
You can see it in their eyes.

You see that someone sparkles by how they act.
Sparkles come out by helping.
They come out of your heart.
Your eyes will shine.
Your words will be kind.
Your hands will help.
Your mind will tell you what is right and
your heart will help you act on it.
Your feet will carry you to the right place.

So, come on! Just sparkle!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Girls with Wings

Halloween was fun! The girls celebrated with parties and parades at school, a trick-or-treat tour at daddy's hospital, romping around the neighborhood on Halloween night, as well as fun events with both sets of grandparents.

Truth be told, the events put the girls into emotion overload (perhaps this is visible in the pictures) as well as a sugar coma. We eat plenty of candy here (on an everyday basis), and mistakenly, I didn't think a bit extra would lead to much of a difference. Boy, was I wrong!

We're grateful for that extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, due to daylight savings. It was a necessity at our home.