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Archive for the ‘Grandsons’ Category

As I mentioned last month, Alan wanted to take his grandsons to Disneyland to celebrate his (Alan’s) birthday last weekend. As I also mentioned, after searching for deals on the internet and not finding any, we had a choice between going to Disneyland and paying $288 admission, or going to Knott’s Berry Farm, which had all kinds of discounts available, for $102. Not too tough a choice. Sorry Mickey.

Being vegan, I also had some other research to do. Amusement parks aren’t known for their healthy food, so I figured that my chances were slim to none that I’d find any options at Knott’s. They do not allow you to bring in your own food. I started by posting on their facebook page:

After deciphering Stephanie’s post, I thought that she had the best idea. I did check out TGIF and Johnny Rocket’s on-line menus, and although Johnny Rocket’s did have a veggie burger available, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope that it would be vegan. And TGIF is hopeless, unless you choose to eat lettuce.

Then last Friday, I received this message on Facebook:

You may note that this message was dated May 10. Well, Facebook notifications had been whacko all week, and I didn’t receive the message until Friday evening. I replied back, but had a feeling that Willie was probably off for the weekend. Oh well, I figured I could tell Guest Services, or if necessary, flash them the message on my phone’s facebook app. We were good to go, food-wise.

Our plan was to drive to Huntington Beach early on Saturday afternoon. The boys had a baseball game at 5:00 that we were looking forward to watching. If you’ve never seen six year old boys (and one girl!) play baseball, you should put it on your bucket list. Seriously, it is so much fun. They are so joyous about the play, they are just starting to learn their skills (and the rules), and, unlike the professional pitchers’ games of today, there is a whole lot of scoring. Some scenes from the game:

Last year was T-Ball, this year the coach pitches (this coach is Alan's son)

Batter Up!

Players rotate positions each inning. That's our grandson the catcher

Base hit!

Action shot...check out his mouth as the ball gets closer.

Another hit. Must be that batting glove.

Grandson on the mound!

See dad? There's some hustle here!

I just love this pose.

He lost the other front tooth a little later during the game.

Sometimes it's hard to pay attention when there is so much going on all around you.

Ready for action.

Sunday morning brought clouds, rain, and cold. Alan and I took a run along the coast and I never felt like I warmed up. I hoped that the rain would pass, but long experience told me that a rainy day is really the best day to go to an amusement park. It keeps the crowds away. But, just not pouring, please.

After checking Knott’s website the evening before, we had one worry. The height requirement for most of the ‘cool’ rides was 48″. We lined the boys up (every family has a place on the wall for measuring, right?). They are fraternal twins, remember. One boy made it easy, 49″. Uh oh, his brother just barely hit 46.5″.  We had to hope that they weren’t too picky about measurements.

As we parked our car on Sunday morning, the clouds cleared, the sun shined, it was a beautiful day. We had decided on a food plan. On the way in, we had stopped at Mother’s Market, which has a wonderful deli with a huge selection of vegan salads, entrees, pizza, and more, and picked up enough for lunch. We decided to leave it in the car instead of hauling it around the park all day. I figured we’d be ready for a break in the action at lunchtime, we could head back to the car, drop off any extra clothing, eat our food, then head back to the fun. Which is exactly what we did, and it was perfect.

We  walked into the park with our eyes skyward, checking out the rides. The first one we chose, La Revolucion, had one of those 48″ limits. We decided to try our luck, but unfortunately, when we reached the front, were were told that our smaller twin would not be able to go on the ride. We decided that Alan would ride with the taller twin:

I felt so bad that we couldn't go on the ride. I promised that we'd go back next year, when he would be tall enough.

Click on the pic and you'll see Alan's feet. Way up there and upside down!

After that, we tried one more ride with the 48″ limit, but when that was a no go, we restricted our rides to the ones which we could all ride (the map had the height limits). This is not to say we didn’t have a great time. The boys won a Big Bird stuffed toy at a baseball toss (see, it paid off already!). We rode the log ride (twice!), several of the faster rides in Camp Snoopy, the Calico Mine ride, where I took my final picture. After that, I dropped my camera (on a wooden floor!), and, well, it died.

One of the rides that we check out early because we would all be able to ride, was the Bigfoot Rapids. However, the sign said, “You will get wet. You may get drenched.” When we (the grown ups) saw that, we told them (the twins, who probably would have been happy to be wet the whole day), that, yes, we would ride that one, but it would be the last one of the day.

So, after a brief lunch break at the car, we headed back into Knott’s, where we caught the tail end of the Stunt Show. I was sorry that we’d missed most of it, because I remember it from years ago. Gunfighters, falling off buildings, shooting it out, all that western fun stuff.

The boys decided that they were ready for the Bigfoot Rapids. Even when we reminded them that it would be the last ride of the day, they said that they were ready. All I can say is, good thing it was the last ride. While the boys remained pretty dry, I got wet and Alan got soaked! I’ll also say that the Family Dryer, that costs $5, but seems like a good idea when you are soaking wet coming out of that ride, does not dry jeans. Nope, Alan pretty much had to be wet and cold all the way back to the house.

All in all, we had a really good time at Knott’s Berry Farm. It has great value, the rides are fun, I can’t wait until we go back with taller grandsons!

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>Shhhhh…Don’t say the title too loudly. I’m not sure I’m ready.

Just kidding. I’ve actually been a Grandma since I was 38 years old (19 + 19, right). I have a lovely granddaughter, who unfortunately lives in Omaha with her mother. That is a story, but for another day.

This story is about two wonderful, five year old twin boys who we just discovered less than three months ago, Alan’s grandsons.

Alan with Dane and Cash

Alan and I were invited to stay over at Lisa and Kelly’s place in Huntington Beach this past weekend. Kelly was playing in a golf tournament in Burbank, and Lisa hoped to stay over the last night with him.  The funny thing is, Lisa kept thanking us for doing them a favor by staying with the boys.  Are you kidding?  We were so happy and excited to have a chance to stay and take care of them we were beside ourselves. Fortunately, our cross country schedule opened up and we jumped at the opportunity.

We were supposed to get there early enough to see the boys play in their soccer game last Saturday, but with one thing and another, we didn’t arrive until just as the game was finishing up. Four word: cat poop/dog vomit. We were bringing our two littlest dogs, Lily and Olivia, along, and wouldn’t you know it. As we were leaving, Olivia managed to step in some cat poop, get it on me, and we both had to get washed up (and I had to change).  Lily, who seems generally to be more comfortable in the car, got car sick (twice!).  Nothing like blaming your lateness on your dogs who can’t defend themselves! It was too bad that we were late. Cash had scored the first two goals (with assists from Dane).

The Tidal Waves–sorry we missed their game.

We all headed over to the house, where Lisa headed up to pack and get ready to go. Alan, I, and the boys took a walk to pick up a sandwich. That was a bit of an adventure (and we’d only just started this twin-sitting!). Our dogs just aren’t used to all that action on Main Street in Huntington Beach. People, bikes, skateboards, other dogs, all jammed on the sidewalks; all this had Lily and Olivia, um, very excited. Lily, all eight pounds of her, was ready to tackle every cruiser bike that rolled by. They eventually settled down, though, and we had a nice walk and lunch.

They were a lot more excited than this, but I didn’t take a picture.

When we got back to the house, Lisa had left, and we were on our own with Cash and Dane.  They love playing with the dogs (and vice versa), so a lot of energy was expended running through the house. We spent some time reading and just enjoying spending time with them. Lisa had stocked up on lots of veggies, so we stayed home for dinner while I cooked up some whole wheat pasta, zucchini and yellow squash, garlic, peppers and artichoke hearts. It was really good, and, we decided, a whole lot easier than going out to dinner.

The next morning, Alan and I did our run in shifts. He ran first, while I fixed breakfast for the boys. I ran next, four miles along the beach. It was cool and foggy and wonderful. While I was running, Alan bravely took both boys and both dogs and headed out for a run with them. I frequently run with two of our big dogs, but for Lily and Olivia this was a new experience. They all ran to the pier and back, maybe a little over a half mile. Fortunately, they all made it back in one piece.

One of only two pictures I took all weekend, believe it or not. Bad, Bad, Blogger!

 The boys had a birthday party to go to, so we got them bathed dressed and they were picked up by a friend’s mom. Ah, rest time for the grown ups. Kind of, anyway, we headed out for a walk around town, had a smoothie, and got home only about 10 minutes before the boys. Guess all this parenting stuff is kind of like riding a bike.

This picture I took with my phone was so bad I didn’t even tweet or facebook it. But here it is, proof we were there.

 Lisa and Kelly arrived home a little later, again full of thanks (really, really, not necessary). We chatted for a little while, then we left for home. Oh, the best part? While the boys had starting calling Alan “Grandpa” a few weeks ago, they’d seemed at a loss as to what to call me. They didn’t seem quite ready to commit. So the best part was, as I was leaving, I got to hear, “Bye, Grandma!”

You know what? It doesn’t make you feel old at all. It just feels great.

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>Just a quick update on my last day of vacation. I packed so much into the day you will think you’re reading a report of the whole vacation!

The day started early, as usual. I have been lax in taking my dogs running lately. Ironically, I run a lot less during cross country season, as do my dogs. I have to head out early to practice (I don’t take the dogs with me, we usually run near home), most days I am coaching the workout, not participating in it. The exception in our long run days and the summer “Bump & Grind” workouts (two miles up/two miles down–a real butt kicker). Because I am usually in a hurry to get to these 5:30 am workouts, my poor dogs get short shrift, lucky to even get a one mile run before I leave.

So with no cross country practice on Monday morning (first day of school), I was able to run three miles with my dogs. They would have been happy to run longer, but I also had a bike ride planned and there is a limit to my athletic capabilities.  In any case, they loved their run, as seen by their happy faces below:

By now, it was about 5:30 am.  Next up, my bike ride. After quickly changing clothes, checking tire pressure, eating a little breakfast, I was out the door by about 6:00 am for a 25 mile ride. Remarkably (because it was August 30), it was only about 68 degrees outside, chilly when you’re used to high temperatures around 105. I enjoyed every moment of the ride. When I finished up, before 8:00, it was still in the sixties, a rare pleasure in the desert. It was just a beautiful day for a ride.

All this time that I was running and riding, Alan was busy working up weekly programs for his clients. Monday is his busiest day, and, with his grandsons in town, he was hoping to get done early so we could go play with, um, visit them. My plan, after my workout, was to shower and get ready to go visit the family. Since Alan wasn’t ready, I decided to add an extra chore in:  Shampooing the dogs. Some of them, anyway.

This is a little personal, but here is how I wash my dogs. I take them, one at a time, into the shower with me. I don’t actually turn on the shower part, but I take them into the bathtub and wash them. And I am, well, ready for my shower while I do it. Which means, I’m naked.

So first, I take Penny, my Dalmatian, then Sassy, my terrier mix (her picture is above, after the run). Then the two little dogs, Lily and Olivia. The other two will have to wait until next weekend. Everybody smells wonderful (including me, since I finished my shower after the dogs). Unfortunately (or not), I didn’t get any photos of all these activities.

So, by now it was about 9:30 in the morning. As I said, I wanted to make the most of my last vacation day. Shortly afterward, Alan finished up most of his work and we headed over to visit the boys. We brought two of our dogs, the little ones, Lily and Olivia, all clean and fresh-smelling, with us.

We spent a couple hours with the kids and Lisa, their mom (our daughter-in-law). Alan had some work to finish up, so we headed home for lunch, but with an invitation to come back later for dinner. Since this was another opportunity to see the boys, and we’re crazy about Lisa, we accepted. We brought the dogs with us again, but as you can see below, they were all moving too quickly to get a good picture.

After a nice evening, we finally headed home, late for us. I probably could have used one more day to recover, but, all in all, a wonderful last day for my vacation.

Oh, just to finish up, here are some more kitten pictures (I can’t help myself, they are so cute).

Back to work!

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>Alan and I were relaxing at home on Friday when I got a Facebook message from our new daughter in law, Lisa. If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that she is actually a new-to-us daughter in law, having been married to Alan’s son for 16 years (I think). I don’t think I mentioned it in my post, but they own a home in Palm Desert, about a 10 minute drive from our house. Anyway, Lisa wrote that she and the kids were here in the desert and would we like to come over on Saturday.

Would we? Oh, yes.

So, Saturday morning, after our bike ride, we headed over to Palm Desert to see Lisa and the grandkids. She had told them a kid-size version of the story of why they had a new grandpa. They are twins, but they are very different, both in looks and personality, and they were processing their new information a little differently. Dane asked more questions, and seemed a little more confused about the story. His mood shifted from happy to giddy, to grumpy, to a little angry. Cash, on the other hand, seemed to take it all in stride. When we first arrived, there was a bit of discussion about what Alan and I were to be “called.” Maybe pops, or poppy? That discussion was pushed aside as we all headed down to the pool.

Dane on the left, Cash on the right

It was really a gorgeous day in the desert. The high hit only about 102, there was a breeze, and unbelievably, the water in the swimming pool was cool (usually by August, a pool’s temperature would hover around 90 degrees). We spent a couple hours in the water, Alan having a great time doing the “grandpa” things: tossing the boys into back dives, racing the length of the pool, and, of course, doing cannonballs with his grandsons.

One of the absolute highlights of the day was when Cash whispered to Alan, “I think I’ll call you Grandpa.” Alan was glowing.

After a few hours at the pool, we headed home to freshen up (yes, I admit it, we took a nap), then brought our two smaller dogs, Lily and Olivia, back over to meet the boys. They all had a wonderful time. My shy Olivia absolutely came alive, she was having so much fun playing with the children.  Lily was having a good time too, as were the boys, of course. After we were all worn out, we gathered up our dogs to go home, with promises that they would come along when we visited. I’ve got to say that all six of us slept very well on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, we had one more opportunity to see the boys before they headed back home. After our run, we picked them up and took them to IHOP for breakfast. What was really exciting for Alan and me, it was the first time that it was just us and the twins. They were a little nervous, but as we got into the car and headed out, they relaxed. We ate breakfast, then took them to our house to meet the rest of the dogs and cats. They were able to see the new kittens (only about 10 days old), as well as our older, indoor cats. It was a little crazy, the dogs were very excited, but all in all, it went well.  It certainly was great to spend the time with Cash and Dane, and have an opportunity to get to know them better.

We can’t wait until next time.

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