Ring Out The Old

What better way to celebrate the end of 2010* and our continuing good weather (the rain finally stopped - but it should start again Monday) than taking the grand-girls to the zoo? We live about equidistant between the L.A. and Santa Barbara Zoos - and we always head for Santa Barbara. The drive is much prettier and while the zoo is smaller, it's just the right size for young legs and attention spans. Leia loved the elephants (see her telling PopPop about elephant noses?) and gorillas but the exhibit that most fascinated her was the penguins. Their pool is set up so you can watch them from the top and then walk downstairs, beneath the pool, to see them swimming right in front of the viewing windows. One little guy was showing off for us, spinning and diving through the air bubbles coming from the floor vent.

Feeding the sheep in the petting zoo.

There are lots of kid-friendly exhibits here. Naia tried measuring her wing-span to that of a condor. The verdict? She still has some growing to do.
Leia wanted to try it too - of course; anything Naia does, Leia tries - and when Naia didn't move fast enough to suit her, she resorted to full-body shoving. It may look like she's cozying up to her sister, but that's an all out effort to get Naia to move.

We took out a family membership today and the zoo guy
wrote each girl's name on a gorilla pin-backed badge and gave it to them. Leia spent the entire 3 hours we were at the zoo with her hand on her badge, afraid it would fall off if she wasn't holding it. I took it off when I put her down for her nap; the first thing she noticed missing and asked for when she got up? Her badge.

*Don't let the door hit you in the b*tt on the way out, 2010. I won't be missin' ya.


Free Spirit

And free entertainment too*. Leia's almost over her cold and definitely feeling better. She was full of herself last night and today, entertaining us with her antics.

Unfortunately, the antics began at 3:30 A.M. when she woke up calling for Meema and ready to play. A quick diaper change and she was back asleep . . . .
all the way to 5:00, when she announced that she was hungry - and so were Tiana, Dora and Boots, her constant companions since Christmas morning. She carries them everywhere, always all 3 together, and always insisting "me do it" when I offer to help.
Leia is to the point that she knows what she wants and isn't shy about sharing that info. When hubby or I don't understand what she's saying, she patiently leads us by the hand
to what she wants (you can almost hear her mentally sighing - silly grandparents).

She spotted this headband
at Michael's before Christmas and had to have it (cost - .80! It costs so little to make them happy at this age.) I thought it would be quickly forgotten but she wears it almost everyday, and always the same way - hippie style. Can't you just see her in a tye-dye shirt and birkenstocks?

And today it was the must-have accessory for reading to her babies.
After helping PopPop open the delivery from Barnes & Noble, she grabbed a book, carefully removed the dust jacket, and proceeded to carry it around all afternoon and evening, reading it (upside down, of course) to her dolls. She made the story sound so interesting that I can't wait to read it for myself - provided I can pry the book out of her hands anytime soon.

*There is some - not much, but a little - crafting happening too. Trying to finish up a crocheted shawl before '10 Shawls in 2010' ends Friday night (Oslo time). Pictures soon. I hope. Leia willing.


My Little Trekkie

Live long and prosper.


Zhu Zhu Races

The two things Naia most wanted for Christmas were Hexbugs and Zhu Zhu Pets. She must have been very good this year because Santa (and her grandparents) got her plenty of both. Hexbugs run in their own habitat sets (sold separately, of course) but the cooing, purring Zhu Zhu's run free - as demonstrated by today's races. I thought the silly things would go just in a straight line, stopping when they ran into something, but they stop, back up, or go off at angles seemingly at will. Both girls were giggling and chasing the Zhu Zhu's around the house, trying to keep them out from under the couch and get them across the "finish line". Watching them was absolutely hilarious. Neither hamster would cooperate, so neither "won" the race, but the girls were having so much fun, they didn't care. And they're already planning a new course for tomorrow's race.


Santa Day

When the holiday season started, Leia didn't know who Santa was - and couldn't say 'Santa'. She knows now! Everywhere we go, she points out the jolly old guy and yells 'Anta!'

Present from 'Anta Naia and PopPop Sisters Family Ornament Handmade by Naia Naia, Matt and Leia A new noisy clock for me! Gary (I'm seriously thinking of stealing his shirt) Scott, Marie and Leanne Hope your day was filled with joy and the magic of the season.


Christmas Eve Snapshots

Just a few presents to wrap, some chocolate chip cookies to make, and we're all ready for Christmas. Some snapshots from our day:

PopPop read to Leia, her froggy, and the
(non-functional) phone that hasn't left her hand in two days.
She "calls" her Daddy every few minutes to tell him
what she's doing. Last night, she gave him a
house-by-house description of our trip to see
local Christmas lights
Leia is fascinated by SpongeBob,
the best babysitter ever
when Meema needed to distract her for just 10 minutes
so she could get a cake in the oven.

Leia got to lick her very first cake beaters.
She wasn't sure at first what was going on,
but she quickly got into it.
Yum! I baked less than usual,
but I think we'll have plenty for tomorrow -snickerdoodles,
zucchini bread, chocolate chip cake and,
with Naia's help, a big batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Naia was more interested in washing dishes
playing in the bubbles than in cooking.
The girls got to open one present before bedtime;
I think they liked what Cousin Addy sent.
Merry Christmas, from our home to yours.


Santa Visit

Today was the only day I could be sure of having the two girls together before Christmas. Naia is leaving tomorrow for Sacramento to visit her mom's relatives. If she gets back in time - and Miles gets back from his dad's in time - we're going to try for a Santa picture with all three kids. Crossing fingers we can make it work!

It was Naia's idea to wear matching 'jammies for the photo. So cute!

Merry Christmas, for our house to yours!


Birthday Bash

Took Marie and the grand-girls to Knott's Berry Farm for my birthday today. We didn't tell Naia where we were going, just got her up like it was a normal school day. She was curious when we were a bit late getting out the door but accepted PopPop's explanation that her teacher had a meeting and class was starting later today.

Driving remote controlled race cars

But when we got on the freeway, she figured
something was up. She was thrilled that she and Leia were getting the present, when it wasn't even their birthday. She kept saying it was the best unbirthday she'd ever had.

We hit the rides in Camp Snoopy first. Naia was adamant that she wasn't going on anything scary. Leia, on the other hand, is a little daredevil. My favorite moment of the day was taking her on the ferris wheel. She loved it, laughing, waving to PopPop and Naia, and talking up a storm. But every time our seat reached the top and started down again, she scooted just a little closer to me. There were more people in the park than I expected on a gray, chilly Wednesday, but we were able to get on most of the rides without waiting.
Riding the neigh-neigh.

We got there before 11 and were on our way home again at 5. We'd planned to have dinner at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant -
haven't been there in years and it's always been a favorite of mine and the hubby's - but by the end of the day we were tired, there was a line, and we were just a little afraid to push our luck with Leia. She'd been great all day, but not having a nap was bound to catch up with us sooner or later.

Our last stop was the Charlie Brown stage show in Camp Snoopy.
Leia watching the show with her new frog baby

Leia spotted the Linus and Snoopy characters standing nearby and took off for them at a dead run, grabbing Linus around the knees in a bear hug. It happened so fast I could barely get the camera up and aimed. I think she liked them, just a little. She definitely wasn't intimidated by their size. It was truly a great day, one of the best birthdays I can remember. I may just do it again next year.

P.S. To top off an already perfect day, when we got home Naia did 2 days worth of homework without a fuss. And Leia is sound asleep, with her arms tightly wrapped around her Froggy.