Friday, December 15, 2006

Pictures Say It Best

Chickenblog is a photoblog today, so that I can share all our holiday fun and recent busy-ness. The fun began with our road trip last week, when we finally got to meet Dominic. He is a 3 and a half month old cutie, my nephew. Yes, he's my nephew and also Bill and Alison's son. We were in Santa Barbara, a nice half-way meeting place. We enjoyed the sights and sounds of State Street and we watched Pirates II in our hotel room. Alison and Max played UNO, and we all "oohed and ahhed" over Dom-Dee (as Maria calls him.) I wish there were more opportunities for us all to hang out together, not just special occasions. It would be wonderful to be to close to more family. I'm glad we got together. It was dear to see my brother be a dad.

The drive up to Santa Barbara was classically traffic'ellacious on the 405 and 101, but the kids were great. I love traveling with them. We decided to try for an early Sunday departure, hoping the roads would be less congested. The early start was delayed by having to have the Odyssey jump-started, but our plan still worked. It was clear sailing all the way. But even when there is no traffic, there is still a need to stop, and Maria needed her stop as we whizzed through Anaheim. She was definitely ready to get out and stretch. Where do you go to use clean facilities, have a little lunch, and stretch in Orange County? Yes, The Big D.

Do you know what is a lot of fun? Going to Disneyland with four great kids who are happy, healthy and delightful... that is a lot of fun. We had the best time. Our So. Cal passes make it so easy to drop in for a little R and R, without feeling compelled to ride everything and see all. We just walked in and started enjoying the music and lights and all the beautiful flowers. Everything is decorated for Christmas and I feel like it's smart to let someone else go overboard with tinsel, ornaments and ribbon, so that we can enjoy all the glitzy splendor and not have to do any of the work ourselves.

It would take a lot of words to express the ecstasy we all felt when Maria had her Disney dream come true, and I want to share the moment with you and I hope I don't get too schmaltzy... In front of the castle we stopped to listen to a big band playing tunes from Mary Poppins. Maria loves music and especially live music, so she was very happy. Then the band was joined by performers who sang and danced to songs and scenes from the movie. Maria was visibly, vocally elated. She danced and clapped, she cheered and was shaking with the excitement of seeing Mary Poppins right in front of her. The boys and I were amused and amazed at Maria's bliss. She was star struck and in awe. Mary Poppins and Bert made the day even better by making a personal visit with Maria after their performance. They sang to her, danced with her, and gave her hugs too. Maria was thrilled. She was very, very happy.

The rest of the visit was continuos magic. We played and sang and danced. We rode the Tea Cups, King Arthur's Carousel and Thunder Mountain. Max decorated a cookie, we saw real reindeer. How about time hanging out with Captain Jack Sparrow? Priceless. We walked a lot. The boys explained that real ice cream lovers never balk at eating ice cream in cold weather, so I bought them each a scoop of Toll House cookie dough ice cream to eat on the way out. We still managed to avoid freeway traffic, so the drive home was easy and we laughed a lot recalling the great time we had.

Today is the last day of school before Christmas break. Yea!! Yippeee! I am very excited about having all the children home with me. William, Maria and I miss Alex and Max during the week. Yesterday was a busy school day. Max and Alex performed in the Holiday Pageant. Every class represented a continent and gave a performance from different regions of the world. The middle school made Buddhist peace flags and they passed them out to everyone. In the parade Alex carried the flag of the Netherlands. Max's class sang a "Shalom" song. I know that a lot of time and thought went in to the pageant and it was a pleasure to watch the children sing, dance and present their work.

And now I am going to rush out to clean our very dirty car... I should do something about the dirty house too. And I need to take the boys' lunches, which I was too late to pack this morning. I am overwhelmed and taking on too much, and I am also happy. The rush and chaos of this time of year is too much, but it's a privilege too. We don't have to shop and bake and volunteer, wrap and ship packages and run around looking for house lights and extension cords... we get too, if we choose to. So, I am going to do all I can and not sweat the sticky floor or the things left undone... I am going to love the privilege of being very busy.

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