Sunday, November 30, 2008

Special Daddy Kisses

Madison and Rob share their special WET SMACKER kisses (the name explains it all) so it was only a matter of time for Rob and Lillian to have their special kiss.

Here is what they have come up with...

1. They smile at each other

2. Rob asks Lillian for a kiss, she responds by kissing his nose.

3. In return for her kiss, Rob kisses her.

Ahhh, the love of a father and his daughters.

Thursday, November 27, 2008



We picked up our fresh, never been frozen 7kg turkey (complete with its feet- no toes) early Thursday morning.

The menu:
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Red Cabbage (brought by our guests)
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie

The Chefs: Rob and Aliza

The Guests:
Rob, Aliza, Madison, and Lillian
Jim, Emma, and Bethan Hone (Rob's boss, wife, and daughter)
Ishan (Rob's co-worker)

Dinner was set for 6:30 pm (we ate just after 7pm).

We dressed in our Thanksgiving finest.

The Turkey was done.

Our guests had arrived

Three Cheers for a meal well done!!!!!

Thanksgiving Kisses to All for a Happy Holiday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Together In Paris

Bon jour!

After spending the morning at Disneyland, we hopped on the train and rode in Paris for the afternoon. It was a short 45 minute train ride into the city.

Our first stop, the Eiffel Tower.

We climbed to the second level and although it was raining and hazy (which is why we did not go all the way to the top) the views of the city were incredible. It was amazing to walk the four corners of this massive monument and to see the sites of the city wherever you turned.

By the time we reached the bottom, the skies had cleared and we were able to continue our tour of Paris.

We walked from the Eiffel Tower toward the Louvre but detoured along the way.

Between the 2 arches lies a street of lights. Lit up for Christmas with the Ferris wheel at the end (the Paris Eye as the Sparkman's named it) we walked along the shop stalls pausing to enjoy a hot waffle with chocolate and the trinkets.

From there we continued on to the Louvre and while we did not go inside we marveled at the famous glass pyramid entrance and the vast size of the building. (We have heard from friends who have been that they had almost toured 1/2 of one gallery in the day they went to the museum).

Just a bit further down the road we stopped at our final destination. While the gargoyles were barely visible in the dark and dreary night, the site of the famous cathedral was enough to fill us with awe.

With the rain beginning to pick up, we headed for the nearest metro station (or what we thought was the nearest) for our return home.

While our visit was brief and could hardly do justice to the historical and beautiful city, it was enough to give us a taste that would hold us over until we can return (with older children, or no children and more than an afternoon to explore)

Au revoir

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Disneyland Paris

Beep,beep, beep- the shrill sound of the alarm at 4:32 am Saturday morning.
In the darkness of the early morning, we quickly showered and gathered our luggage to head to the train station- the 5:54 am train was quickly arriving.

It was a 40 minute train to Waterloo Station, then down to the Underground to catch 2 tubes to St. Pancras Station where we would catch the Eurostar train to Paris.
We arrived in plenty of time to catch our train and even had time to enjoy a gourmet breakfast, that's right you guessed it McDonalds.

As we stood in line to board the train, Rob presented Madison with her Eurostar Disney activity pack and asked if she would like to go to Disney. Her response- "Are you joking?" Needless to say, she was quite excited.

It was a quiet 3 hour ride to Paris. Madison read her reading book for school- no reason to not get a bit of homework done before our holiday. Rob and Lillian napped, that is if you consider closing your eyes a nap. I alternated between helping Madison, working on my own school work, and napping.

Upon arriving in Paris, we quickly headed to the Disney Express desk to check our luggage. With our luggage safely deposited for delivery (Disney Express would take it directly to the hotel for us) we headed to the park. It was a short walk to the entrance of both Disneyland and Disney Studios.

It was time for our holiday to begin...

Father Christmas Goofy was waiting to say hello.

Madison had time for a quick hug with Mickey before heading to the rides.

We entered Main Street and were greeted by the petite castle of Sleeping Beauty. We were bubbling with excitement (ok I was bubbling with excitement, Madison was in awe of her surroundings, and Rob and Lillian were silently subdued).

We walked along Main Street to the right toward Discovery Land.
Here we enjoyed rides such as...



Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast

We also enjoyed Star Tours (a simulator ride based on Star Wars) and a stage show of Lion King the musical.

Rob and I both rode Space Mountain (Madison was not tall enough).

One of the great things they have at Disneyland is the BABY SWAP option. One parent and a child (if they are tall enough) stand in line while the other parent and the child who is not tall enough wait at the exit. When the first parent and child get off the ride, the parents swap spots and the child and other parent get to ride again. We were able to ride lots of rides multiple times with this option and it is great because when you kid says "Can we go again" it is easy to say yes.

From Discoveryland to entered the enchanted land of Fantasy-

Equipped with Belle's village and enchanted rose, the ambiance of Fantasyland was incredible. It truly felt like a place outside of reality.

Here we enjoyed the classic Disney rides (not completely classic since the entire dialogue was in French, but close).

Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Blanche-Neige et less Sept Nains (Snow White)
Les Voyages de Pinocchio (Pinocchio)
Le Carrousel de Lancelot

Peter Pan's Flight

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Alice's Curious Labyrinth
Mad Hatter Teacups

Sadly, It's a Small World was closed for repairs!

Then it was onward with our adventure to Adventureland:

Here we crossed the suspension Bridge to Adventure Island, climbed the tree house of Swiss Family Robinson (Le Cabane des Robinson), walked through Le Passage Enchante d'Aladdin (a story book exhibit of Aladdin) and in honor of Poppy, rode Pirates of the Caribean (much better in Paris and the line was less then 5 minutes).

Our evening came to a close with a family picture near the castle.


We returned to the park Sunday morning and immediately head to Adventureland to ride Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. This was the only other ride that Madison could not go on, but with a short 5 minute wait both Rob and I enjoyed this fast speed coaster.

From one coaster to the next, we headed to Frontierland to grab our fast passes for Big Thunder Mountain before experiences the ghostly haunting of Phantom Manor (yes, even at 26 I hate the Haunted Mansion!)

With Frontierland completed, we headed to the train station to head to Paris (see additional blog entry for our adventures in Paris).

After touring Paris, we enjoyed a relaxing evening in the hotel pool. Complete with pirate ship and 3 slides, we all enjoyed the cool water. Madison loved racing from slide to slide while Rob and Lillian enjoyed splashing by the pirate ship.

Lillian's favorite part was being tossed in the air and splashed into the water- that is of course until she tossed her "cookies", then it was not so fun.

It was a great end to our day's adventures.

We decided to spend the day at the adjacent park of Disney Studios (literally one entrance to the left of Disneyland- very convenient.

We entered the park and strolled through the FRONT LOT (filled with shops and restaurants) to the left and began to explore PRODUCTION COURTYARD.

First ride of the day...
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Madison and Rob were the first to ride and Madison and I rode again later in the afternoon. My how Madison has grown and changed since we have been in England- she would NEVER have gone on a ride like this before.

We were just in time to see the CineMagique show before racing to catch the Moteurs-Action Stunt Show Spectacular.

Just past Armageddon Ride (voted a bust) we stopped for a quick picture

We stopped for a family picture with Minnie and Daisy and then...

it was back to the BACKLOT for Rock N' Roller Coaster (Amazing!!!!!!!!) and then the Studio Tram Tour Behind the magic.

A quick stop at Monsters Inc, left us in the center of TOON STUDIO to end our day.

Rides included the Flying Carpets over Agrabah (Aladdin's version of Dumbo), Cars (Cars version of teacups) and Crush Coaster.

This was by far one of best and most unique rides! Your shell has four seats - two facing forward and two backward and as the ride goes down its first drop, you are treated to a shell that spins as it moves over the track! It made for a very enjoyable ride.

We even saw Remi from Ratatouille and Donald Duck.


Our last day at Disney and we decided to spend the day doing SECONDS- that is to say, ride any and all rides that we wanted to a second time.

Just as we entered the park we were greeted again by Mickey!

First was Fantasyland to get another chance at Peter Pan, then we went toward Frontierland for another go on Thunder Mountain. The Disney Express stopped just outside of the castle and Madison was able to see her two all time favorites- Peter Pan and King Louis.

We were able to ride everything we wanted to a second time and some (like Rock N' Roller Coaster a third time - this meant SIX times for Madison).

We waited at the entrance of Main Street to see the parade of lights before hustling to the train station and heading for home.

It was a great way to end our trip!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our Favorite Things!

Our favorite things:

Madison's favorite thing to do with Lillian is to dance. They especially like Steven Curtis Chapman's "Cinderella" song.

Lillian's favorite thing to do is STAND. She is no where close to walking and lacks any sense of balance but she still enjoys being on her feet.

She also enjoys sitting and reading her books.

and Daddy and sister snuggles!

Lillian is now in the 9th% for weight at a whooping 14 lbs 4 oz. She is 67 cm (no idea in inches) long.

Madison has lost her first tooth (bottom center) and has several more wobbly ones. She was very excited to negotiate with her father the price of her tooth (she started with 2p and they agreed on 20p). No tooth fairy for us- we are more into the immediate gratification, plus Rob likes to barter!