Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Monday, August 29, 2011

The First Day of School

Well, it happened.  The first day of school arrived and we all survived.  But my emotions were all over the place!  I have stories and pictures to share, but I thought I would start with a picture of Aidan from two years ago.  It was his first day at Winwood and my emotions that day were similar to todays. 

Look how huge that backpack looks!!

So, today came.  Although I had the day off, I got up early so I could get my workout and shower in before Aidan got up.  I had enough time to make him some chocolate doughnuts. . .the only problem with these was that, although I had bought the mix and the pan from the same place, they did not specify that the recipe would make 10-12 regular sized doughnuts. . .I have the mini doughnut pan!  So, they turned out funny looking.  Good, but funny looking!

But, without further ado, here is my baby, posing on the porch, ready for his first day in public shool:  Kindergarten here he comes!!!

Yes, the backpack is the same.  He looks so grown up here!!  His legs look like they grew two feet in the past two years!  Yes, these pictures are only two years apart.  Crazy!!

Daddy was able to go to work a little late and joined me in taking Aidan to school for the first day.  Yippee!!!  Consdering he is on 16 hour days for the foreseeable future, this was awesome!

So, we headed to the school where Aidan and I got out and then waited for Daddy by the front door.

A little trepidation was starting to set in, so I tried to comfort him. . .as best I could without letting him see the tears starting in my own eyes!  But then we headed in:

Okay so far!  But then we got to his classroom where a little boy started crying. . .and my watery eyes got more watery. . .and Aidan looked back at us with a very pale and pinched face and. . . I realized we had to leave right away!!

While Aidan was at school, I kept myself busy so as to not be obsessed with him being there. . .okay, I tried!  : )  But, really, I did get to the post office to mail my sisters birthday present and then came home and baked chocolate chip cookies so Aidan would have a great after school snack!  Then, at 11:00, I headed back to the school to hide out and make sure he got on the Winwood bus safely. . .it worked!  I ran into Pat who was working a trouble call across the street from the school (convenient, eh???) and he and I hung out, surreptitiously, watching the school for signs of our son.  He came out and was ushered onto the Winwood bus as planned and then he was off to his after school care.  I, laughing at me and my husband, headed to the jewelers to get my pearls restrung and a watch fixed. . .

The really cool thing was that Winwood called me to tell me that Aidan had arrived there safely and that he seemed happy and fine.  Awesome!!  When I got home, I checked him out on the Winwood cameras and then planned a little final quiet time for myself (cleaning and organizing the file cabinet!) and then headed up to Winwood to pick up my son.  Who didn't want to leave yet!!!  sigh. . .

Once home, the snack was appreciated and he's been playing the rest of the afternoon.

While he has been occupied, I took care of the moutain of paperwork that arrived in the backpack.

According to Aidan, I will not need to take him all the way to his room tomorrow (a small feat today, I might add).  He says he'll be able to walk himself once inside the school!  : |

Aidan says he is really really tired. . .  : ) (I can't make that a bigger smile!!) so I think we'll be off to bed about 7:30 tonight. . .this is huge considering he's been known to stay up until 9:30 most nights due to naps at Winwood. . .but. . .No. More. Naps!!!!  Can I hear your hallelujah???? 

I think the jury has come in with a favorable response on this school thing.  Hopefully, they don't change their mind over the coming days!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What a week!  What a weekend!!

After the earthquake and the fun of taking Aidan to meet his teacher, he was off all day on Friday.  In order to conserve a little time, Daddy stayed home in the morning with him and I came home for the afternoon. 

Friday afternoon, I took Aidan to the Dentist for his bi-annual cleaning and check up.  When he was called back, he looked at me and said, "I don't need you to come back with me Mama."  Oh.  Okay.  : (  When did he grow up all of a sudden???  I was called back when the cleaning was done, which he did very well, I'm told.  His teeth look great.  When I asked the dentist about possible tooth fairy visits, he said all of Aidan's teeth are still firmly in place and that I should not look for that to happen for about another year.  Okay.  Sounds good to me!  No sign of the next set of molars, either.  Cool!

Then we were off to the barber shop to meet Grandma, Grandpa and Daddy for hair cuts for the boys.  We got there first and we went ahead with the cut.  It was sorely needed--his hair in back had gotten soooo long!!!  Aidan was finished up right about the time everyone else got there so I snapped this picture of my baby with a fresh hair cut and clean teeth!

Not long after this, though, Aidan said he wasn't feeling well.  In fact, by the time we got to dinner, he felt decidedly warm.  I took Aidan home after dinner and took his temperature-- 101 Degrees!!!  I gave him some tylenol and put him in his pj's and we sat down to watch some TV while we waited for Daddy to get home.  But, Aidan fell asleep at 7:15

He slept, in his bed after I carried him up there--two flights!--until 7:30 yesterday morning!  He said he was better and he no longer had a fever, but I stayed cautious with him  We did go to a birthday party after which he napped for two hours and then off to bed before 9:00 where he slept again until 7:00 this morning.  At least I had the excuse of Irene to keep him quiet!

We seemed to have been spared the worst of Irene's wrath, thanks be to God!  We did have some heavy rain and some heavy wind, but no damage that I can see.  We'll be off to church in a little bit so we might see some then.  Crews from Pat's office did go down to Virginia Beach where power outages are pretty high.  So, he'll be working 16 hour days for the foreseeable future.  Well, that's the nature of this Power Company business!  I, on the other hand, should be spared the brunt of the damage phone calls as I will be off tomorrow for Aidan's first day at school.  I am sure I'll get my share on Tuesday though!

Although we are starting Kindergarten tomorrow, we're hoping for a quieter week to come!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Jury Is Out. . .

Today was the big day. . .but then again, what day this week hasn't been big??  Seriously though, today I took Aidan over to his Elementary School to meet his teacher and to see his classroom. 

We arrived a little early and had to wait to go in.  This is Aidan's reaction to being there.  The look followed him saying, "Mama, I just want to go back to my school."

Then we headed into the classroom and Aidan was asked to look for his name tag while I filled out the transportation form.  He had a little trouble because the 'i' was not what he is used to.  He will be wearing this nametag every day for the coming week.  Hopefully, he'll get used to it.

He wore the nametag for a short time while we walked around looking at the new room.

But, then it came off.  Luckily, he seemed a little happier once he found some puzzles he could play with. 

The Principle came in at one point and came to talk to me for a while.  I guess I looked lost, or unsure, or something.  I think he tried to reassure me by telling me that both the Teacher and the Assistant Teacher are both certified.  I know I was supposed to impressed, but all three of his teachers for the past two yars in Preschool have been certified.  I'll try, though.

We stayed the full half hour, but Aidan was antsy to go about 10 minutes into it.  I did speak, briefly, with his new teacher, Mrs. Taylor.  I don't know how this will go, but she said I will need to drop him off with her or Mrs. Brown, the assistant teacher, out front of the school.  I should not come into the room because Aidan might be too clingy that way.  As if he won't be clingy any way I drop him off!  

Aidan's reactions broke my heart.  I am really hopeful he comes around and will open up and be the wonderful little boy I know that he is.  Maybe the excitement of being out with Mama in the middle of the day, uncharacteristically, is to blame.  I hope so because I don't know how I'll bear it if he is this down this coming week!

I guess I can chalk my reactions up to the fact that we are now moving from a safe very private closed environment into a public domain.  I just need to relax!  : /

Now if Irene would just go away!  I might be able to relax!  But, alas, I hear her eye is going to be about 50 miles to the east of Washington, D. C. . .we live 30 miles west of that. . .we're very likely going to feel full hurricane force winds unless she chills out some!

And so, our last weekend before public school does not appear to be the calm relaxing one I was hoping for. . .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Up until 1:51 this afternoon, all anyone was talking about was Hurricane Irene.  Where is she coming ashore?  How high will the winds be?  As of this morning, it looked like it had a bead on Virginia. . through the area of North Carolina we love the most, Wilmington and Emerald Isle. . .sigh. . .

And then 1:51 came and . . .

We are not prone to earthquakes, but they do happen from time to time.  We had one in 2003 that was centered in Lynchburg, Virginia (about 3 hours drive south of my house) that measured 4.3 and we felt it here.  Then there was one in 2008, which I don't know the strength of.  Then in July of last year we had another one about 4.3 that woke me up around 4:00 am sounding like a humongous Mack Truck driving down the road.  And now todays: 5.8!  Yikes!!  That's kind of a big one, especially for us!

The epicenter was in Mineral, Virginia which is 90 miles south of D. C. and about an hour to hour and a half south of us.
  Instrumental Intensity Image

We have friends in Mineral who did report widespread damage that was pretty extensive and the North Anna Power Plant was shut down at Lake Anna to check for possible damage.  Everything appears to be in good order, thanks be to God.

So, not much got done this afternoon, what with everyone laughing and sort shaking off (sorry) the shake up (I'm really sorry) we had had.  I was able, after a time, to check on Pat and Aidan and found them doing okay.  Aidan did not nap today so he'll be off to bed shortly.  And my sisters and my mom checked on me to make sure I was okay--via texting because our cell service was not working for a while.  Very nice of them and I was happy to report we were all okay.

The only thing that happened at the house were a few things fell.  Fortunately, it was in the Family Room which is still carpeted--for the time being!  The foundation and chimney all appear in good order and we did not see any cracks in the walls, always a good thing, too.

And so, now back to our other pending natural disaster. . . where will Irene hit?  And since we had an earthquake, can't we just take a bye on this one???

Busy Week and Interesting Conversations

Wow.  Here we are at the final week of summer. . .well, not actually, but school starts next week already and my baby is heading to Kindergarten!  Time sure did fly fast!

5 years ago, about now, we decided to adopt from Russia and four years ago this week we sent our Dossier off and now we're preparing to send our baby boy off to Public School for the first time. . .please treat him kindly and help him to maintain his sweetness!

On Thursday we, Aidan and I, are going to his new Elementary School to meet his teacher, Mrs. Taylor and to see his classroom.  I'm excited.  Aidan seems a bit non-commital about it, but maybe that will change when actually get there.  Friday Aidan will be home in the morning with Pat and then I'll take over in the afternoon.  We are going to the dentist for a routine cleaning--at which time I also plan to ask about when we should expect our first visit from the tooth fairy--and then we'll head off to get a hair cut.  Dinner with Grandma and Grandpa will complete our day.

I have tentative plans to head to the pool--it is only open until Labor Day so we gotta take advantage of that!--but that will depend on what Irene is doing.  She could be making a nuisance here for us.  If she does come up here, then we'll go to the Ice Rink, if the winds aren't too bad, or we'll stay here and play games.  Basically, I'd like a low key last weekend before school starts.

Aidan has been asking a lot of questions lately about where he comes from.  I attribute it to his age and understanding more.  He recently asked Pat if his name used to be Steopa.  It's been a long time since we called him Steopa--more than three years.  He has heard the name, but I didn't realize he associated it with himself at all.  When I asked him yesterday if he remembered being called Steopa, he said no.  So, then I asked him how he knew that had been his name.  He just said he knew it.  I started to ask him another question and he pointed to a bunch of mushrooms and said, "Look at all those mushrooms, Mama!  We can't eat those because they might be poisonous!"  Okay, enough for one day. 

I'd like to go over more details of his story with him before school starts, so that he is aware that he is special and loved more than anything.  I guess we'll give him more of the details and then leave it alone again and wait for him to ask questions as he is ready.  That seems to be working so far and he is absolutely accepting of it all. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Day The Iron Curtain Came Down

20 years ago today, there was a coup in Soviet Russia. . .the Soviet Union.  It marked the beginning of the end of the curtain hiding the land our son came from.  It was the beginning of Americans going to Russia to bring our babies here to raise them.  Thanks be to God for Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Yeltsin and even Mr. Putin who have made it all possible.

It was not an easy time for them nor has it been an easy time for them.  But, they have come a ways in those 20 years.  It may not be the Democracy those of us in the West dreamed of and hoped for, but it is not the closed book that existed before.  It is a start. 

Great relationships are like fine wine.  The longer they age together, the better they become.  I am hoping ours will continue to age and meld and become something great.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's All About Planning

I am a planner.  I am one of those people who makes lists for everything. . .even when I clean house!  I get immense satisfaction out of crossing things off my list.  I know it sounds weird, but I just can't help myself.  Because I am a planner, my calendar fills up with fun things to do and I get my Christmas shopping done early!  This year I am making one Christmas gift for each person and I started this project last night.  It's going to be great!

This weekend, we are getting together with some friends who have a daughter about six months younger than Aidan.  The kids get along really well together.  I think it is safe to say that they don't remember not knowing each other!  We're going to make homemade pizza--yes, we're even letting the kids do their own-- and will then do the Dance Wii in the basement after.  Can't wait!

Last weekend we took Aidan to the new Cobb theatre that we have in town.  Wow is it nice!  The seats are really comfy.  We went to see The Smufs.  I wasn't sure about it, since it is PG, but there was no bad language and the action was no worse than what Aidan sees on cartoons each day.  And judging by the hilarious laughter coming from the seat next to me, it was definitely a hit for him.  Pat and I were okay with it except that the song was old after about 5 minutes.  . .don't care to hear that again so Santa will be informed that he is not to buy that one for Aidan!

The other day we were talking about marriage and what it means with Aidan.  We explained that two people say vows and pledge to be together forever, loving eachother and taking care of eachother.  Yes, a bit simplified, but he is five.  Liking the idea, he said he wanted to get married.  Someday, sweetie, but Mama is going to really have to like her too!!  : )  "How about Miss Mandy?"  Oh, honey, she's already married. . .to Mr. Jonathon.  Remember?  "Oh yeah."  How about Maya?  (really really cute little girl in his class at Winwood).  "Wellll. . .is Kendall married?"  snicker. . .I love this kid!!!  Kendall is my neice--my 15 year old neice!!  Whom he has loved since the moment he met her.  In fact, he usually says, "I luuuuuuvvvvv Kendall!"  So cute!

We are now on the final countdown of how many days left in Pre-K and how many days until Kindergarten starts.  Counting today, there are six days left in Pre-K.  I am ready for him to move on to the After School Care.  I'm tired of the chaos and the not knowing from day to day what teacher will be in his class each day.  And there is one teacher in there whom I always think she should not be working with small children every time she opens her mouth.  This has been a particularly chaotic summer.  But, I'm trying to hang in there and not complain about it because our time there is really short.  In fact, next week, Aidan will really only be there all day through Wednesday.  Thursday I will pick him up for two hours in the middle of the day in order to take him to his new school to see his class room and meet his teacher.  That will be fun!  So, last night I told Aidan that he only has five more nap days left. . .: )  I think his biggest issue will be that he won't be taking Tigger with him every day anymore.  Poor Tigger could use a rest.  I think he'll be better off hanging out on Aidan's bed waiting for him to come home! 

Finally, please keep my friend Dana in your prayers.  She just had the second of three massive blast treatments of chemo therapy.  She became so weak this time that she has gone into a Rehab facility.  I'm not sure when she'll get out of there.  To make matters worse, she contracted MRSA while she was in the hospital during the first treatment.  So, her weakened system to another hit.  I just don't know how much more of this she can take.  Her husband confessed that he really thinks they are just chasing the cancer around her body and that she'll be gone in five years. . .I know she's a fighter, but I really think, in my heart, it will be much sooner.  Please say a prayer for her and her husband Rob.  Thanks.

That's it for now.  Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Uh oh. . .

And here is my little cutie. . .ready for church and wearing his size 6 slim jeans (which I only had to put on the second hole over). . .do you see much growing room? 

sigh. . .well, I guess I'll be buying all new jeans by Christmas again!  I wonder if this will slow down some soon?????

Monday, August 15, 2011

End of Summer Project Mode

Well, the weathermen had it wrong again!  They had said we would have sunny skies Saturday morning with building clouds in the afternoon and periods of rain.  Sunday was supposed to be rainy all day with periods of heavy downpours.  I planned our weekend based on that prediction. . .Saturday was cloudy all day with some rain in the afternoon and then Sunday was mostly sunny with big white fluffy clouds all day. . .it did rain, and heavy too, but not until after the sun went down!!!  Yes, big thunderstorms right at bed time, which meant that I had a little sweatball named Aidan plastered to my side all night!  : )  Ah well.  I still had a very productive weekend!

Saturday I exchanged a jacket I had bought for Aidan--a 5/6 for a 7/8. . . and then we had a nice dinner with Grandma and Grandpa at On The Border--definitely going for the salad next time and fewer chips and salsa!!  : )

Sunday we made it to the 9:00 service at church--all three of us!!  And we almost convinced Aidan to go to Children's Chapel. . .maybe next week.  Definitely need to get him to understand we don't interrupt people when they are praying.

At home, I converted a whole lot of Basil to Pesto and then made salsa with the plethora of tomatoes and some onions and cilantro from our garden.  All I had to add to that was some store bought jalepenos.  Later this week, I'll need to stew some more tomatoes too.

Then we took Aidan to see The Smurfs.  Very cute and funny movie!  Aidan really enjoyed it.  The song got old after about 5 minutes, but we had fun!

This week I'll be back in Project mode:  Aidan's closet is next.  And next week I'm hoping to work on one of the Guest Rooms which has become a catchall.  I need to sort through all the things that have accumulated in there and pitch and toss!

I wonder if I'm focusing on all of the Projects so much right now because it's the end of summer???  I think I was supposed to be working on these all summer long. . .

I'm also going to be working on Aidan's table manners.  He's never been very good at the dinner table, but lately it has become really horrible.  Im looking for ideas on how to handle this situation.   He's a good kid, but has become a little undisciplined lately--maybe it's just because of it being summertime.  Probably a lot will change once school starts. . .I hope!

One thing I also want to try with Aidan is signing him up for the Kids With Purpose program at our church.  They get together every other Wednesday for an hour and a half and they go out and do things for other people.  It's an Outreach and Service ministry for children.  They go out and make a difference in our community by helping out with homeless shelters, women & children's shelters, animal rescue, senior centers, Interfaith Relief and so on.  This will be an excellent way to help Aidan focus outward instead of on himself all the time.  The sessions will run from 4:00 until 5:30, which will work out perfectly with our schedules--Pat can drop him off and I can pick him up.

Aidan  is also signed up for his next Hockey lesson, which will be Saturday mornings.  Next week I'll be signing him up for Mini Mites again, which will be Saturday afternoons. . .Saturdays wll be at the Ice House and Sundays will be free for just church!  Yeah!!!

That's it for now from the land of the Adventurous and Project Minded Harrison's!

Friday, August 12, 2011

You Be The Judge!

Wasn't it just a day or so ago when I said I didn't look anything like my Mom??? 

Every December I make a calendar for the coming year comprised of the pictures from the prior year.  It makes a nice Christmas gift and it's fun then to see the pictures as they come up each month.  It really highlights how much Aidan is growing (probably more than I want to notice!) not to mention how much I change my hair. . .  : )  It's fun to make and fun to see each month unfold of all the pictures from the prior year. 

But, a really funny thing happened the other day.  Aidan was looking at the calendar, which I had just turned to August--a little delayed because of our vacation--and he saw the picture below.  He asked me, "Mama, were you taking the picture of me and Nana right then?"  Looking at the picture, it didn't immediately occur to me what he was talking about, so I just said "No, honey.  What do you mean?"  "This picture right here! (pointing at the one below)  Where are you?  I am with Nana, but where are you?"  Oh!  He thought that was him and my Mom!  laughing. . .Well, that IS me.  That's not Nana!  : )  (My mom is going to love this)

And here is a current picture of Nana, also posted just a few days ago.  You tell me.  We look nothing alike, right???  : )

And no, Mom, you do NOT look fat in this dress. . .sheesh!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Smithsonian and the Final Days of Summer

Happy 165th Birthday Smithsonian!! 

We are so lucky to live so close to the largest museum in the world.  We can take the metro down into D. C. and get off in the Mall right in the midst of all the museums for the Smithsonian.  We go 2 or 3 times a year.  Aidan's favorite is the Museum of Natural History, but the Air and Space Museum is a very close second.  Frequently, we'll go to a monument or two as well, since they are also all right there! 

Now that we have been home from vacation for a few days, I think it's safe to say we have unpacked fully, completed about a gazillion loads of laundry and are now settling in for the final couple of weeks of summer.  We even got to the Mall last weekend and stocked up on all of the clothes and shoes Aidan will need for the coming fall.  I bought mostly size 6 and 7, but did do one really nice jacket that was a size 5/6. . .it just fits.  Back I will go to the Mall this weekend to exchange it for a 7/8!  Yikes!!!

All of the jeans I bought Aidan are a size 6 slim.  (love those tabs and buttons on the inside of the waist band!)  They still look a little big in the bum area, but the length is just a little too long, so they are perfect!  He'll probably outgrow them by Christmas. . .this child is going to be very very big. . .

Our adjustment back to Eastern time has had it's successes and some not so successful moments.  Last night in particular was a very difficult night.  Pat and I were exhausted, but Aidan not so much.  I finally went to bed (where Pat was snoring happily away), but I think he was still awake after 10:00.  And then he still came and got in bed with us about 3:30 this morning.  I may talk to his school just to be sure they aren't letting him sleep more than an hour at nap time--when he does it creates all kinds of bed time havoc.

Speaking of Aidan's school, we have an Open House on August 25th to go and meet his new Kindergarten teacher and see his classroom.  It is, of course, in the middle of the day so I'll have to take and extended lunch and make up the time during other lunch breaks that week.  But, we're very excited about it!  At the Day Care, we only have one more week to pay at the current higher price and then we go down in our rate substantially.  Looking forward to that!  Aidan will begin the transition process to the After School Care room in about a week and a half and will take a ride on the Winwood bus so he'll be used to that experience. 

AND. . . there is a lady who will be teaching piano lessons to the children at Winwood on Monday afternoons beginning August 29th!  She is only charging $12.00 per lesson, so I signed Aidan up!  I figured this would be a great way to introduce him to the piano and then perhaps, once he has the basics, this lady might teach him privately.  No, we don't have a piano yet.  But, it is on our definite plan to do probably around Christmastime.  In the meantime, we'll hook him up with an inexpensive keyboard, which will be fine until we have a piano and he can use this in the basement Rec Room, too. 

Finally, check out these pictures my grandfather gave me of my mom.  They are her school pictures from 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th grades--no idea where 7th grade is. . .and the years are 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1953.  Sorry for the glare, but are they adorable?  I don't look anything like her. . .

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A "Relaxing" Vacation in the West

Well, we're home again.  What a trip!  We had a blast.  We were very busy every day but it was so much fun.  I really think this is a trip Aidan will remember his entire life.

But it really starts before we left. . .two weeks ago!

In the midst of packing and getting the dogs situated in their temporary homes, I was stressing about not know for sure if Aidan had gotten into morning Kindergarten or not.  If he didn't, I was going to be in a bind because of Day Care issues.  I did not want to switch at this point.  Aidan needs stability as much as we can give it to him.  But, I need not have worried or stressed.  The day before we left, we received notification in the mail that he is indeed in the morning Kindergarten class.  I will take a two hour lunch break on the 25th and taken him to see his room and meet his new teacher.  Beginning on the 29th, I will drop him off at about 7:55 am and he will be there until 11:15 at which time the Winwood bus will pick him up and take him to the Day Care center for lunch and then after school care. . .and our day care expense will go down by $63.00 a week!!!  Woo Hoo!! 

Pfew!  That's all a relief that that's resolved!

So, for our vacation. . .

On July 27th, we got up insanely early and then headed over to Grandma and Grandpas to drop off the car and be picked up by our limo at the beautiful hour of 4:00 am.  Our flight left Dulles at 6:00 am.  Aidan was soooo excited!!!  He doesn't remember his prior plane rides so he was really excited about this.  About a half hour into the flight, or not even, he fell asleep.  He woke up about 1/2 hour before we landed in Denver.  Worked out perfectly!  Our second flight landed uneventfully in Las Vegas. . .Funny though, I think there was some kind of college hockey thing going on because the Duke hockey team was on our flight to Vegas. . .anyways.

We layed low the first day and just kind of tried to get acclimated to a new time zone and just get caught up with my mom.  She's looking good, although she does have some health issues that I'll discuss some other time.  She has gained some weight which is awesome for her.

Our second day at Moms, we decided to go to her pool for a couple of hours and then to head to the strip in the city.  Here are some pictures:

Moms pool has this awesome lazy river that has a tidal action.  It's really cool to just float around in that area.  When the temps or consistantly over 100 degrees, it is a perfect place to just hang out!

The MGM Grand has live lions in a glassed in area.  We were so lucky because it was feeding time when we got there.  Aidan was able to get right up to the glass and one of the lions came up to check him out!  The third picture down was actually taken by another man, from New Zealand, who graciously agreed to email me a copy.  Awesome!

After this we walked to the M&M store and then the Coca Cola store and then down the block to the Harley Davidson store to buy some souviniers.  Hot, but a lot of fun!  I just wish the people hanging out in the streets wouldn't hand children suggestive cards. . .Yes, I agree that Vegas isn't really a place for children, but it was the middle of the afternoon and it wasn't like we were hanging in the casinos. . .but anyways. . .

On Friday, we headed back to Moms pool for a couple of hours and then headed south to Southern California.  What an experience it is to drive through the desert!  We actually drove through the Mojave Desert, over the mountains and then into Death Valley.  The California border is actually only 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas, and the whole drive only took us 3 1/2 hours to get down to Anaheim.  At one point, the car thermometer said the outside temperature was 115 degrees.  We drove into a thunderstorm and when we were at the top of the mountains the temperature had plummeted to 66 degrees.  Crazy!  Back up to 110 degrees when we hit the desert on the other side. . .

The high desert near my mom's house. . .

We had two day passes to Disney and had decided to go on Saturday and Monday and then the Balboa and Newport Beach areas on Sunday and Tuesday.  This was a good decision. . .

Disneyland was really a lot of fun.  Aidan loved the roller coasters, hitting his first one in Mickey's Toon Town.  But, if you ask him right now what his favorite was, he'll tell you it was Splash Mountain, which we did first thing on Monday morning.  I'm here to tell you that he got soaked.  I mean, all the way through his clothes and to his skin soaked!  Poor kid!  He was so not expecting that and he started to cry. . .I felt terrible about it.  But, other than that, I think he still had fun.

My family has a tradition that we take the train around Disney when we first get there and then go off to start in in on the rides.  Something happened and we had to get off in Fantasyland, though.

Aidan waiting to go on Small World.

It's a world of laughter, it's a world of tears, it's a world of hope and a world of fears.  There's so much that we share that it's time we're aware it's a small world afterall!!!  (thought you'd like to join me in the perpetual song going on in my head!!  : ) )

And then it was on to Midkey's Toon Town!!!!!

Goofy has a great car, even though he crashed it into his mailbox!

I think Aidan fell in love with Pluto.

Aidan driving a ship!

The Haunted Mansion. . .Aidan was nervous about this, but he ended up loving it. . .even when a ghost sat on top of him!!!

Having some fun!!

We brought Flat Slapshot to take some pictures. . .more later!!

Back on the train. . .

Enjoying our first Disney ride after the train. . .

And here it is. . .the fist roller coaster Aidan ever went on. . .

And Aidan's reaction to it!!!

Loving on Jessie. . .

And Woody!!!

And here we are at the start of Thunder Mountain, our second roller coaster. . .

And here we are at the end of it. . .hmmm. . .tall and big enough, but really ready??  Probably not. . .

At the entrance to Priates of the Carribean. . .Yo Ho Yo Ho!!  It's a Priates Life for Me!!!

Aidan's reaction to having to stand in line. . .although a friend told me about a free app for my iphone that told us about how long the waits were.  It rocked!!!  It really helped us plan out our days at Disney.

We finally got to the entrance to the ride.

Covering his ears, but toally loving the Priates of the Carribean!!!!

 We had a lot of junk food and boy was it yummy!!!  Popcorn, Cotton Candy, Corn Dogs, Lemonade. . .Yum!!!
Driving the car at Autopia

 The Matterhorn, which was closed for repairs both days. . .a reason to take Aidan back!!!  Not to mention that we didn't even begin to attempt Space Mountain or a couple of other rides. . .
Flat Slapshot!!!

 Being goofy in front of Mickey Mouse. . .

Okay.  Tigger is still Aidan's favorite. . .you can't see that Aidan is hugging him here, because we couldn't get the angle right, but Tigger is wearing Aidan's Kras hat!

The rest are from the parade. . .on day 2 when we had a better curb side seat to see. . . .

Aidan was so into the parade that it reminded me that we now need to replace all of our VHS versions of the Disney movies with DVD versions. . .Santa will likely help some with that!!!

The other two days were at the beach.  Sunday was rainy and chilly so we didn't actually hang at the beach but walked around Balboa and took the Balboa Island Harbor Cruise.  Fun stuff!!
 On the beach at Newport Beach!!

 Loving the boat ride in the harbor. . .

 Sea Lions chillin' out. . .

Pirates Cove. . .also known as the Lagoon in Gilligan's Island. . .

Sea Lion's chillin' on the bouy.

Balboa Pier.
 Newport Pier.
The Pavillion at Balboa.

After all of this excitement, we drove back to my moms for the last couple of days of our trip.  There, we hung out at her pool again and then went to see Red Rock Canyon before heading tot he airport for our trip home.  Red Rock Canyon is beautiful.

Me and Aidan with my mom and my grandfather. . .

What an experience!  I think Aidan will remember this one for the rest of his life. . .

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming of shopping for school clothes and going to parites at Chuck E. Cheese!!!  It's back to reality for the three of us tomorrow. . .three weeks till school starts!!!