Saturday, December 31, 2011

What a Band!

That is the phrase that the band director uses to describe our band. It's accurate! They are a great bunch of kids, and they really made us proud today!!!

Today was Band Fest at Pasadena City College. The bands marching in the parade performed their shows in front of a crowd. Since the entire band wasn't able to come, they asked some moms to fill in as prop holders. I was one of those moms, and I confess to being completely terrified. However, right before we went out, another mom encouraged me to just enjoy it, so I determined that I would, and I did. (In the picture, my prop is the "O" without James Bond on it.) It was a thrill to hear the crowd and be right in the middle of the band. They did such a great job, and the moms did okay too!

After the performance, we went to the Rose Bowl where the band had their official portrait taken. We were able to tour a tent where floats were being decorated, and it was neat to see them hard at work to have the floats ready before they are judged tomorrow.

We had the first free time of our trip this afternoon, so I took a nap. I felt refreshed after being in the heat all day. It was amazing how different the weather is around here. We were really hot in Pasadena, but needed jackets when we got back to our hotel which is in El Segundo.

The hotel had a buffet dinner for us, and I'm writing now from the New Year's party. They have a DJ, and the kids are all dressed up and having a ball. They'll call it a night after they're able to watch the East Coast ball drop.

Another big day tomorrow. We're going to Universal Studios and a place called Jillian's. We are busy and tired but truly having the trip of a lifetime, and we still have the parade to look forward to!

Friday, December 30, 2011


We had a very full and fun day. Oh my goodness.

We toured Los Angeles, saw the La Brea Tar Pits, lots of landmarks, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theater, Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, then we ate at the Farmer's Market. I ate at "Chipotle" which is a place I'd wanted to try for a long time.

After lunch, we went to the Santa Monica Pier. I'm chaperoning, so the kids I am chaperoning stayed with me much of the time, and it was a lot of fun. It was really cold and foggy, but we still made the best of it. We walked to the water and put our feet in the icy cold water, and then we went to the pier and rode the Ferris Wheel. It actually reminded me a lot of Atlantic City, NJ. They had some free time to walk around, and I was able to pick up a couple of souvenirs.

We are now on the bus on our way back to the hotel. We are supposed to freshen up, then we're headed back out for a dinner cruise. We are packing a lot into a little bit of time, but we're making great memories!

Tomorrow is Bandfest. We are to perform at 10:30. It will be broadcast on the Internet - - just remember 10:30 is PST.

Wow. I think I'll rest for a little while. Pictures!

First name - Annette. Middle name - Adventure.

What a fun day!!! We spent the entire day at Knott's Berry Farm. I kept up with 3 other moms/chaperones, and we really had a great time. We didn't ride too many thrill rides, but we had a lot of laughs.

Now is when you get to find out what a crazy person I am.

First a confession: some people like music. They spend money on it and are quite devoted. For awhile, I thought I should be that way, and I'm not. I was almost apologetic for it. The beauty of age is when you realize you are who you are, and you are okay with it. So, music is not my vice/passion/distraction... It's television. There, I said it. It's out in the open. I can breathe again.

I really do like to watch television. I commented to a friend tonight that I can't believe I don't know what is happening in the news right now, because I watch Headline News every morning as I got ready for work, and I haven't seen it since we arrived. (Sure, that was yesterday, but news travels fast.) It is refreshing.

I digress.

So, amongst all of the different things I watch, Food Network is my newest fixation. I enjoy watching them go places and trying foods from all over the country.

One of those foods is "In-n-Out Burger." I've been fascinated with it for a few years and even had it in my theoretical bucket list. I wanted to try it.

Today I marked it off my list. With the permission of the band director, three other chaperones and I got a cab tonight and we went to In-n-Out burger tonight. What fun!!! This is something I would do with the Big Man and not think twice, but it was an adventure to do it without him. He suggested the cab, and that made it so easy!!!

So, I'll go mark it off my bucket list, and you may see pictures of our evening. I talked to everyone and learned a lot about our cab driver. I even had my picture taken with him, although it is a bit dark. He hesitated when I asked, so I said that it was okay - I didn't want to make him uncomfortable. He explained that his hesitation was just because in 12 years of driving a cab, no one had ever asked to take a picture with him. I couldn't tell if he thought that was good or bad.

Tomorrow is the day I'm really excited about...Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, L.A. Farmer's Market, the Santa Monica Pier and more!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Queen Mary

Tonight we ate dinner on the Queen Mary. They had a celebrity speaker. He had been an actor on a Disney show, and he was a lot of fun and had a lot of good advice. We are exhausted, so here are some pictures, and I'm going to bed. Knott's Berry Farm tomorrow!!!

La La Land!!!

We are in California! Our hotel is directly across from the airport, so we are feeling like we're really here. We are checked into our rooms and going to eat on the Queen Mary tonight. Here are a few pictures of the hotel and one of MK and friends fresh off the plane!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Photo recap

My alarm is set for 4:00 am. It's 1:03 right now, and I'm just too wound up to sleep. We are getting up so early to go to Pasadena, California so that MK's band can march in the Tournament of Roses Parade. We are so excited. The kids have worked so hard, and now they're going to see the reward.

While preparing to go, I realized that I need to clean out the photo album on my phone. So, I'm going to just choose a few favorites from my phone before I transfer them to the computer.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

And on earth, peace, good will toward men.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Notes to self part 2

Merry Christmas!!! Here are the things we did to celebrate Christmas Eve. We kept up with our regular traditions and started a new one.

The Big Man worked today, but the kids and I stayed busy. We baked and cleaned and made things ready. The the Big Man came home, and we all went to church.

Christmas Eve services are my favorite of the year. Tonight did not disappoint. They did something that other churches probably do, but I hadn't seen before. When they passed out candles for the candlelight service, they offered the kids glow sticks. Of course we aren't eager for T. Willy to hold fire yet, so it was a great way for him to feel involved.

After church, we drove around to look at Christmas lights. If you know us, you'll know that we do this each year. Then we came home, and I finished making our dinner of finger foods. I think I overdid it a little this year, but we won't waste our leftovers.

The kids open one gift on Christmas Eve, and this year I chose something for them to open together. I can't remember why, but we learned and sang the "Dreidel" song recently. I found a set of dreidels, and the kids opened that tonight. We played our version of it using chocolate covered pretzels to trade, and we had a ball. I really hope it's going to become a tradition.

Now the kids are in bed, and the Big Man is asleep, and I'm on my way. I'm trying to remember to relax and just enjoy tomorrow. On Monday, MK and I will be packing for our trip to California, so I need a little bit of rest before we go!!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

What's going on...

The Big Man's work had their Christmas party Monday night. There was a 70s theme, so we dressed up. T. Willy had a lot of fun with his big hair, and even though his blonde hair was peeking out, he felt it necessary to tell people that he was wearing a wig. I love his sincerity.

Today is the last day of school until January 2. I really love my job, but I admit I'm excited about the break. I have so much to do to get ready for Christmas and the Tournament of Roses parade!!! California, here we come!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Picture day

I've been wanting to take a Christmas picture for awhile, and today we were finally able to do it. I had some ideas, and they actually turned out just as I'd hoped. In case you're someone I know in real life, here is a teaser of T. Willy waiting patiently while we set up.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The bears are up.

We still need to buy one for this year.

Still busy

We aren't slowing down a bit. I am a homebody at heart. I love to stay home and be with my family. There just hasn't been time for that lately - maybe in January.

Yesterday was closing for the fall play. It continued to improve with each show, but it was always a lot of fun! The audience participation was my favorite part, next to the character "Holly Holgrave." MK enjoyed it and did really well, but I know she's glad for a break.

Last night was our town's Christmas parade. MK marched with the band and became a bit sentimental when I mentioned that it was the next to last one she'll be in. We calculated that she's been in one every year since probably second grade. I can't believe it's almost over. T. Willy rode on a float with the Cub Scouts, and I walked with it. We pretty much have the parades down to a science. The Big Man is our meeting point, and he stands around the same place each year at the end of the parade. MK finds him once she finishes, and then as soon as we get near, I pull T. Willy off the float, and we watch the rest and leave. We park conveniently at the end of the parade, and we have little trouble getting out. It is our low stress solution to a situation that used to cause stress due to traffic and getting the kids where they need to be. After we left, the kids and the Big Man went home, and I joined some friends for dinner at the Big Man's restaurant. MK was exhausted, and she was already asleep when I got home.

Today we are getting our Christmas tree after church. We plan to spend the rest of the day decorating and just enjoying the quiet. I hope it goes as smoothly as the parade did.