Danny & Family

Just Some Random Stories About Me and My Family

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Nina's Birthday Party

Well here it is the last day (technically the last evening) of September, and I’m actually posting something that took place in September.

Wrong! Nina’s birthday is in September, but her party was the last Sunday of August because if we threw a party on Labor Day Weekend, nobody would show up. Well almost everybody did show up for the party.

I don’t know how I got talked into this, but we rented a limo and had it take the kids to Build-A-Bear Workshop at Downtown Disney. Everyone had a good time, and we didn’t even loose any children in the crowds.

All right, lets get to the pictures. Before we left, everyone met at our house. We fed the kids pizza, then sang Happy Birthday and had Nina blow out a candle on her cupcake. Here’s the birthday girl sitting at the dinning room table with all her presents behind her:

We all climbed in the limo and away we went. I would have had to drive separately if all the invitees showed up, so because of the one no-show I have pictures to share with you from inside.

We made much better time than planned for. We got to Downtown Disney before we knew it, so we actually had some down time while we waited to get into Build-A-Bear. I took this picture as the kids waited. Poor Brady. He was sooo bored. I’m sure he was thinking: ‘When will we, like, get inside?’ ‘I wish I would’ve, like, brought my iPod’ ‘Are they gonna, like, have food when we get inside?’

Once inside, the kids were all given a chance to spend a pre-set amount of money. With this they got the choice of a “bear”, and as many clothing items and/or accessories that could be purchased without exceeding their limit. After everyone was done (which took about an hour), I took this group picture:

Next came the trip back home. This time with half the room, since each kid had a stuffed animal to carry – in it’s own box. Once we were home, we took a few more pictures. Here’s one with Nina, her cousin Kira, and Kira's new friend - the monkey:

This party was a lot of fun, and very different from any of the parties we've had before. I was against it at first, but after all was said and done, it didn't cost that much more than a conventional birthday party, and we didn't have a mess at home to clean up.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Corn Festival

So here it is closer to the end of September than the beginning, and I’m still talking about things that happened in early August. Well, such is the life of a very busy man. On the first weekend of every August the City of La Habra holds its Corn Festival. This is a celebration that goes back many years. I’ve heard that it dates back to the early days of the city, when farmers would bring summer harvests together and celebrate with the whole community.

My family and I have attended the Corn Festival every year since we’ve lived here in La Habra. That’s 7 years now. We’ve gone to the parade nearly every year, as well as the Festival itself. This is basically a carnival, where there are rides, games, food booths, and vendors selling all sorts of merchandise. Lucky for us, we live 3 residential streets away from the park that hosts the Festival. That means we don’t have to look for parking – we just walk.

So why is my first picture of a bunch of little girls in cheerleading uniforms? Because they get to be in the parade. Oh, one of them is my daughter, Nina, and their coach is my wife, Laura. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but Laura signed up Nina for cheerleading for the local Pop Warner football association – The La Habra Lions. Laura signed up for what she thought would be Team Mom, but ended up coaching a squad. Here they are:

The youngest group of girls (5-, 6-, & 7-year olds) get to ride on a float in the parade. All of the older cheer girls, and all of the football players (the boys), and all of the coaches have to walk the length of the parade. Here are the girls on the float. Guess which one is Nina. I’ll give you a hint: she’s not holding her pom-poms up.

After the parade Nina, my son Brady, his girlfriend Katy, and I went to the Festival. Laura had to work at the food booth run by the cheer & football association. Brady and Katy walked around by themselves and didn’t want to hang around with dad and sister. So the rest of the pictures are of Nina. Here she is on a little kids' ride. It’s a whale that goes ‘round and ‘round, and up and down.

Nina was so scared from going on Atlantis at SeaWorld (a few weeks before these pictures were taken) that she refused to go on the little kid roller coaster. Mind you, she has gone on it the last 3 years. This is a picture of Nina on the other ride she went on at the Festival – the ponies:

And finally, here she is with the honeybee from Hometown Buffet:

We had a really fun time at both the parade and the Festival. Even though Nina didn’t go on many rides, she did play a lot of carnival games, and won several prizes. Brady had a good time too hanging out with Katy. They went on several big rides – some that I wouldn’t dare go on. Laura didn’t have a very good time, because she had to walk the entire parade route, then work the food booth. (That comes with the “job” of coaching). But we all enjoyed the corn. Yummy!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Summer Vacation - Catalina Island (part 2)

Why is it that some posts are easier to put together than others? I’ve been doing this blog thing for a little more than 6 months now, and I’ve almost always had some kind of trouble posting pictures. Either I was not successful at all, or it took what seemed to be an eternity to post the pictures on my blog. Well this time there were no delays whatsoever. In record time I scanned a half a dozen pictures, and uploaded them to my blog without one single delay. Why can’t it always be this easy? My time is soooooo precious. I would enjoy this blog hobby so much more if I were able to post my hideous pictures this quickly every time. Ok, shut up now you idiot. Start talking about this post.

As I’m sure you recall, I was sharing our summer vacation in a series of weekend trips. I left off in the middle of a 3-day, 2-night trip that Laura and I took to Catalina Island. Here is a beautiful house overlooking Avalon Harbor. All of the houses in this area are so appealing to me. If I ever won the lottery, I would love to buy one of these hillside houses overlooking the harbor.

At the top of the picture is the Wrigley House. The Wrigley family once owned the island. You might be familiar with the Wrigley brand of chewing gum – same family. Those of you who have heard of the Chicago Cubs – frequent and recent winners of the World Series (ha!) – might recall that the Wrigley family owned the team, and many years ago they use to hold spring training on the island.

Here's a picture I took of the pier and the casino from the south side of the harbor. This is nearby where passengers go back and forth from the mainland and is one of the first things they see when visiting the island.

Laura and I came here to Catalina last fall and went to a wonderful party at the casino. It was part of the farewell tour for radio station Fabulous 690. We had such a good time. We really enjoy that type of music. It's such a shame that station went off the air.

Besides playing golf in Catalina, Laura and I enjoyed other activities on our vacation. One of the things we did was take a ride on a submarine, which allowed us to see fish and plants underwater. It was so neat. Here’s a picture of the submarine.

Here’s a picture I took during the submarine ride. These sea creatures are called fish. The submarine didn’t really dive under water. The portholes inside the boat were below water level, allowing the passengers to look outside at all the sea life. It was exactly like the submarine ride at Disneyland (for those of you lucky enough to have been able to enjoy it before it was sunk – I mean removed as an attraction). Click here if you want to see what the submarine ride at Disneyland was all about.

On our way back to the mainland, Laura and I saw this beautiful tall sailing ship. The whole way home we reflected back on the fun we had. We played golf together (for the first time), we ate out at two different restaurants - without being distracted by our kids, we enjoyed a wonderful evening of Karaoke at this great bar, we went souvenir shopping together, and we even laid out on the beach. We had such a good time on our well-deserved vacation, we agreed to do it again next summer.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Summer Vacation - Catalina Island (part 1)

A while back I wrote about Laura taking up golf. On our weekend trip to Catalina Island, Laura played a round of golf for the very first time. (Up until now she's only hit balls at the driving range). Well we had a great time. We had a Friday morning start time; so it didn't get too hot, and it wasn't too crowded. Here's Laura on the 1st tee box:

Laura was scared to hit the ball off the 1st tee box because she didn't think she could clear the street below and land on the fairway. Well she did! In the picture above you can see further down the 1st fairway, and some sand traps that separate it from the 9th fairway. The palm tree directly behind Laura caught my ball, knocked it straight down, and landed it behind Laura's. So the net result was that Laura actually out drove me.

Oops! This is called a wiff. If we were playing by official golf rules Laura would be charged a stroke here even though she didn't hit the ball. I didn't really want to use this picture. The only other one I took of her swinging at the ball was from a distance further away, and with her back to the camera. I like how she's pictured here between the two trees:

Here we are on one of the fairways. We had to take each other's picture since there was no one playing with us to take our picture together.

My dad taught me how to play golf and he always told me to keep my head down. I used to have trouble keeping my head down. I wish he could see this picture - the ball was long gone and my head was straight down looking at where the ball was sitting.

It's really hard to see them, but there are 3 deer in this next picture. We were playing the fairway to the left when a mother deer and her two does came out of the hills from the right. The three walked right down that cart path and under the tree in the center of the picture.

Unfortunately, the above was the last picture of the roll of film. By the time we got closer to the deer and changed the film, the three went back into the hills.

One more thing about our round of golf. On the hole after we saw the deer I almost hit a hole-in-one! It was a par 3, 142 yards. When Laura and I got to the tee box the foursome ahead of us were still putting out. I told Laura to go ahead and hit because I knew she couldn't reach the green. The group on the green were slower than s**t, so I told Laura to hit again. Finally the group cleared the green, but the twosome on the hole following us were approaching. So I'm feeling pressured to hit quickly. With my 6-iron in hand I stepped up to my ball, hit, and then watched a near-prefect flight. The ball landed in the center of the green and rolled toward the hole. It wasn't until I walked up to the green to see how close to the flag it ended up - about 4 feet away.

Well we had a great time, and I hope that was the first of many rounds of golf that Laura and I will play.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Blog Changes

I've decided to make some changes to my blog. Recently I've been thinking about my blog and how it's been about six months since I threw it together. The whole thing started thanks to Bean. I didn't want to be "anonymous" when I left a comment on his blog, so I set up a blog of my own. But what to call it . . .

At first it was going to be dedicated to the Dirty Old Men Desert Riders club, but I quickly realized there's not enough material to dedicate a blog to it. Also, there's not enough interest - even by other club members. Laura and I tried three years ago when we became the D.O.M. club King & Queen to distribute the newsletter via e-mail. We quickly found out that most of the members were not very computer literate. Most had basic e-mail service, but the majority of them couldn't open an attachment, i.e., the newsletter on a Word document. So we quickly backpedaled to paper and snail mail.

Since my blog has mostly become a diary of my family events with pictures and comments, I thought I would just include that in the description area. Oh I'll still post things about the club, but I can see that the D.O.M. posts will only make up a small percentage of the total. Besides, this is my hobby and I'll do it how I want to. So there!

I've changed my profile picture to one of me and Laura (see above). However, I've changed my settings so that when I leave a comment on someone else's blog I won't drop that image. At least that's what I think I've arranged. I guess I'll find out when I leave a comment. Alright, enough for now. "See" you next post.

Addendum - I can only change my settings to show (or not show) profile pictures on my blog. I can't control my profile picture from appearing (or not appearing) on other people's blogs.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Summer Vacation - San Diego (part 4)

Okay, I promise this is the last set of pictures from our weekend vacation to the San Diego area. These are from day 2 (Sunday) when we visited Legoland. As I mentioned earlier Nina was so scared from the water ride Atlantis at SeaWorld the day before, she didn't want to go on any rides at Legoland - well hardly. Here she is following Brady as they drove little cars around. The creative folks at Legoland made a mini city with streets, yellow lines, stop signs, and signals. None of the kids paid attention to any of that - they mostly drove wherever they wanted:

As you can see by my award-wining photography, I almost caught the fence post in the foreground directly in front of Nina's head. Actually, the shutter didn't open when I was pressing down on the button - well before that post was in the frame.

This ride was on an elevated track. People sat in cars and peddled them to make them go faster. If you didn't peddle you still moved along the track, but at a slightly slower pace. After waiting in line for 45 minutes for a ride that lasted about 4.5 minutes - Laura and I were not about to peddle and make that car go any faster. We caught this picture of Nina being brave and going hands-free as her and Brady's car descended a ramp.

A poplar place was the water park. This ride seeks "pirates" to shoot other "pirates" with water guns. What the people on the ride didn't realize until the last second is that spectators on dry land can shoot the "pirates" while they're still on board. Here's a picture of our sitting ducks under fire. (Brady's water gun is blocking Nina's face, but you can see Nina's wet hair bow).

Back to the roller coaster rides that Nina wouldn't go on. This one was called Coastersaurs, and was in the part of the park where everything was dinosuar-themed. This ride was so cool, I swear if I ever win the lottery I'm going to have this roller coaster replicated in my backyard - well not where I live now. This coaster was short in both length and height, and mild in speed. There was virtually no line to wait in either. Laura and Brady are in this picture, conveniently behind the tree. Laura, Brady, and I went on the coaster several times. All the while trying to persuade Nina to join us. (Thanks Atlantis)

Next up: Catalina Island - A weekend just for me and Laura.