Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dog Obedience - State Fair Style

Both kids qualified for competition at the State Fair level this year.

Mikayla/Josie qualified to compete in Agility, Showmanship and Obedience.

Alexia/Katrina qualified to compete in Showmanship and Obedience.

Mikayla earned a Reserve Champion in Agility, Reserve Champion in Showmanship and Champion in Obedience.

Here is a video of her Champion performance in Obedience, filmed by our good friend Kelli since apparently there is some kind of restraining order against me by Mikayla / Josie; they keep insisting that I'm not allowed to be anywhere near the ring during their competition. Probably it's because I'm so lovable that I'm distracting.

Alexia earned a White Ribbon in Obedience and a Blue Ribbon in Showmanship. I was allowed to be in the audience for this Obedience performance, but it sounds as though that may not be the case next year.

Here is a picture of Alexia and Katrina during the Showmanship competition.

We are very proud of all the hard work the kids have invested in training their dogs this year and we're thrilled they were both able to enjoy competing at State Fair.

Thank you to everyone who came down to the fair and stopped by to see us.

Now that fair is over we can return to 'normal' life. Oh, wait a minute... this IS our normal life.

Feel free to comment below....



Friday, September 24, 2010

First Day Of School 2010/2011

The school year is off to a running start already.

Alexia is pleased to report that she is really enjoying 4th grade with her teacher, Mrs. Peterson.

Mikayla is having a good time in 8th grade in her varied subjects. This year they are trying a new schedule format: two hour classes, every other day. For example, instead of an hour of math every day she will now have two hours of math every other day. Somehow, she managed to avoid PE (not that she needs it) but ended up in Advanced Art (and is loving it) and is also serving as a Library Assistant and Concert Choir. She is also in Algebra, Science and Spanish.

So far so good. No one has even asked me how many more days there are until summer, or Christmas vacation.


Did anyone notice how much the rose bush grew since May? ;)


Saturday, September 18, 2010

State Fair Canine Agility. Wish them luck!


The next day of our vacation was spent enjoying the rides at LegoLand California.

We had heard of high temperatures in that area, but LegoLand is located a little closer to the coast than we thought. Temp was in the low-mid 70's and was perfect for the day.

We started off with a 'mousetrap style' roller coaster that the kids enjoyed before moving on to a larger scale steel roller coaster. I'm proud that they are working their way up the "Roller Coaster Food Chain". Hopefully some day soon (after everyone is 54" tall) we'll find ourselves at Magic Mountain.

One of the more unique rides at LegoLand involves getting locked into a seat at the end of a robotic arm which then swings you around in unanticipated directions until you hurl for about two minutes. The computer program that drives the robotic arm has five levels to choose from. This options helps keep people from chickening out. Alexia and I had level 3, which was the highest level you can select for her age/size. Mikayla rode by herself and was limited to level 4, but she wanted level 5.

More roller coasters and rides, then lunch and then the girls wanted to go ride this water ride on their own. It spins around in a circle and spectators can launch water cannons in attempts to soak the riders. Our kids were pretty lucky in that they didn't get too wet.

One of the obvious attractions at LegoLand is that there are many exhibits and decorations made out of Lego blocks. We took a cruise boat ride that showed us many neat Lego models. One exhibit was of downtown New York.

Here we have Nana, Poppy & the kids posing in front of New York, with the Empire State building and Grand Central Station (cut in half).

Eventually we found a section of the park with a couple water rides and a water playground. The kids changed into their swimsuits and cooled off for a while before we became firefighters and went head to head with other families to race firetrucks and put out a fire.

Here you can see me trying to help Mikayla aim a fire hose while Alexia pumps the water.

Next, the girls went to practice for their Driver's Test while the rest of us sat in the shade of some trees.

Advice for visitors at LegoLand: If it's hot out and you notice that no one is sitting in the shade offered by a tree with a great view of kids driving cars it might be because the birds in those trees like to poop all over anything underneath their tree. People, coats, purses, Nooks. I'm just sayin'.

Once we were all cleaned up and sanitized, the kids led us to the Mini Towers. Instead of the fancy version where magnets or hydraulics whisk you to the top of a tower before dropping you back down to earth, at LegoLand the kids get to pull themselves up to the top of the tower via their own strength, and then moderately fall back to the bottom. Sure it was some work, but they enjoyed it enough to do it twice.

On our way out of the park we took a float through Fairy Tale Land and I snapped this family picture, but one of the kids was hiding behind me, so it's only a partial family pic.

Since it was also Tanya's Birthday, we enjoyed a fun meal at a 'cook at your table' Japanese restaurant located near our hotel. This time I managed to get everyone in the picture, except for myself.

Happy Birthday Tanya!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Zoo Safari Park

Next stop on the vacation itinerary: the San Diego Zoo Safari Park located in Carlsbad, CA. Well, that's what it is named today. At the time of our visit it was the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Park.

It was just a tad bit warm on the day we chose to visit the Safari Park... in fact, it was over 100 degrees. It was so hot even my water got dehydrated.

We didn't quite know what to expect at the Safari Zoo - but we did know it was going to be HOT. thus, we were mentally prepared to be a bit uncomfortable and agreed to call it quits early in the day if the weatherman was correct.

The Safari Zoo is huge. HUGE! Really very big and huge. You just can't believe how huge it is. It is so huge that we had to walk a California Mile just to get to the safari part of the safari zoo.

What is a California Mile you may be wondering. A California Mile is just like a Washington Mile, except IT'S TOO HOT.

Along the way we passed some neat animals, including birds and gorillas and insects but in all honesty, it was really hot so we weren't too interested in them (plus we had recently been to the S.D. Zoo (where it was a comfortable 72 degrees) so they weren't our priority). Mostly we wanted to find the safari tour.

Did I mention it was a mile away?
Did I mention the heat?

We were told there was a hot air balloon which could whisk you up in the air for an ariel view of the park. We didn't do that but I was really wishing for a Cold Air Balloon but it seems the gift shop was all sold out.

This balloon was super-sized. It was so big that at first I figured it was the actual sun itself, thus explaining the heat.

To the right of that picture you can see the Pacific Rim elevator building that saves you a whole lot of elevation gain/loss... if you like elevators. Otherwise you get to walk up/down approximately 8 floors.

Remember that this place is huge? All that land in the background behind the balloon is part of the Safari Park.

Found the lions:

Finally arrived at the Safari tram which took us on a 30 minute driving tour through the rest of the park that you aren't allowed to walk through. I'll spare you all the pics, except for two: A giraffe and a landscape shot of some land. Probably there is some cool animal in that picture, but I'm too hot to look for it.

After the tour we hiked another mile back to the entrance, stopping for a mid-morning dessert on the way back. My new favorite dessert for hot days: An Icee Sundae! Soft Serve Ice Cream on the left side of the cup, Blue Raspberry Icee on the right side of the cup. YUM!!

The kids stopped to ride the merry-go-round on the way out of the park and then... off to the Beach (where the temperature was only in the mid 70's and it was perfect)!

Finally, back to the hotel for some rest and preparation for tomorrows adventure at LegoLand!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

More SeaWorld

The Dolphin Interaction Program was just a small part of our day at SeaWorld. There was a lot of other sights to see and explore. So, here are some of them for your viewing pleasure.

The girls posing outside the Penguin Exhibit:

The Atlantis roller coaster ride. We rode this twice. The first we managed to stay pretty dry but the second time, at the end of the day, left us soaked to the bone.

The arena for the new Blue Horizon show, featuring dolphins. We managed to sit in the only shady spot in the stands - thank goodness!

Managed to just barely catch Mikayla wearing sunglasses while waiting for the Shamu show to start:

If you choose to sit in the "Splash Zone" you risk getting wet. A LOT wet. We sat above the splash zone.

The girls fed the seals... well, they tried to feed the seals.
In this picture you can see the blurry white shape which is actually a bird that swooped down out of no where and swiped the fish right of of Mikayla's hand before she even knew what was happening.

Funny enough, the same thing happened to Alexia, but I didn't get a picture of that one.

There were a lot of other exhibits that we enjoyed also, including the Polar Bear exhibit and the Seal show which was pretty entertaining.

Everyone had a really good time.

Next up: The Beach and Legoland. Coming soon (someone is harassing me to drain the pool and clean the garage right about now).