Wednesday, August 24, 2011

All Grown UP



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Here are Tyler and Sam getting ready for their first days of school. Sam is heading to Kindergarten at Coker Elementary where he is in the dual immersion Spanish progam and Tyler is moving up to a Blue Bird at Heintz preschool (one year away from pre-K). Both boys have transitioned to their new environments with ease, let's hope that continues. Way to go, boys!

Ranch Party




One of Mike's colleagues has a ranch about one hour from San Antonio and invited the GI gang there this past weekend. We went to explore and fish and see the cows and the horses and climb some trees and eat lots of barbecue. It was hot, to say the least, and lots of folks were enjoying skeet shooting and we saw our fill of stuffed animals mounted on the walls, but it was a fine time ranching here in Texas.

Morgan's Wonderland






During their last week of summer vacation, just back from Manhattan Beach, the boys and Martha went to an amazing place, Morgan's Wonderland. It is an amusement park geared to kids with special needs, the first of its kind in America, and it is here in San ANtonio. Actually, our neighbor, Gordon Hartmann, developed it for his daughter who has autism. The park is filled with sensory delights, from sounds to touch, and is very interactive. The boys even caught some fish. They had a blast and can't wait to go back again!

Venice Beach and Hollywood







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We spent a very busy day renting bikes on Venice Beach in the morning, where we viewed the cast of characters at the beach and watched some great skateboarding at the skate park there, and then we headed to the Griffith Observatory where we saw a planetarium show about water and constellations and took pictures overlooking the Hollywood sign and then we ventured onto Hollywood Blvd. Poor Tyler, he was so looking forward to seeing the characters in front of the Mann Theatre, but fell asleep on the ride there and then slept through the entire chaos of Hollywood Blvd. But to ensure that he did not miss out on the fun, you can see him here, sleeping next to Shrek!

On the Swings




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Sam just learned how to swing independently and loves to go to playgrounds now and hangs out on the swings forever. Here you can see his skills.

Michelle



Here is Michelle posing with George Washington, then with Misha, then with the family. We were so excited to be there with Michelle, thanks for coming!

Who is Hiding Behind Darth Vader?






Tyler loved playing in Darth Vader's cape...he is here and now he is not! And watch Michelle get splashed by the lady, no, she escaped still dry.

Splash the Pirates







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The boys (and Michelle) loved the splash ride where you went around on a ship and splashed all of the other ships around you. They must have gone on at least 8 times, thankfully, there was really no line. We all got a bit wet during that ride!

Fun at Legoland






The absolute best part of Legoland, besides seeing our friends from San Antonio, the Hurds, and being with Michelle, was the lifesize lego statues and figures. We went on a few rides and had some fun getting wet, but seeing the Star Wars scenes and characters and the Obama inauguration, and Mardi Gras, all in small lego fashion was truly incredible.

Fun with the Piesmans





We had such a great time in California because we were able to spend some quality time with our family. We had Michelle over for a sleepover and a trip to Legoland and Polina and Grisha came by as did Boris and Julia. It was great to see everyone, we just wish we lived closer...hmmm....

Main Street Farmer's Market



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What a treat! We met Mike and Jill and Shaun Dobbs (Mike's friend from high school) and Bess and her parents at one of my favorite spots in Santa Monica, the Main Street Farmer's Market. While we were in California, we experienced 3 farmer's markets and tried some delicious fruits and vegetables. While on Main Street, we had omelettes and pancakes, and danced to some live music.

Biking in the Driveway





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The home we rented was very well equipped including a bike carrier which the boys loved. Well, they didn't love just sitting behind it during the ride along the strand, but the really enjoyed dragging each other around the driveway...thanks, Michelle for the great idea!

Its A Small World After All


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This really was a highlight for me as a kid and for Tyler and Sam. It is so clever and so well done with all parts of the world represented in so many languages but with one ever-present tune (which I had trouble getting out of my head all day).

Characters at Disney






The boys had a great time looking for characters. Who knew that the characters had handlers who ensured that no one passed out from heat exhaustion or dehydration. I mean it is really nice that those character unions out there protect them. The biggest success was Tyler's willingness to be near them without clinging onto us...he is really growing up!