Thursday, November 20, 2008


Last weekend we made our way out to Travel Town to check out their huge train collection.  Their were dozens of different old engines and train cars and lots of other really neat train related stuff.  There also was a small electric train that you could ride that ran a loop around the property.  Gavin almost blew a gasket when he saw this little train moving down the tracks and wouldn't do anything else until he rode it.  Needless to say, he was very excited about it.  We had a great time and we can't wait to go back, especially since admission is free!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Our little pirate.
Originally, Gavin was going to be a pug, but we ran into a little bit of trouble along the way.  I bought the pug costume several weeks earlier to avoid the picked over mess you always find, but didn't realize the the size 3T costume I bought (which is a size larger than he normally wears) was WAY too small until ten minutes before we had to leave for a Halloween party.  Quickly we ran to the only drugstore in town that might have costumes and frantically searched through the picked over mess to find a suitable outfit for the party.  Luckily, we came across this pirate costume and thought that it might just work.  The costume change was probably for the best since it was around 90 degrees out.  Gavin would have roasted inside a plush dog costume.  He refused to wear the matching scarf to the party so Curtis sported it the rest of the night.

Our big pirate.

A pirate and a ladybug taking a break.

At trunk-or-treat with his pirate hat on.

A trunk-or-treat parade and costume contest.  I realize that I am the only one up there without a costume on.  I was there merely for moral support.

Trick-or-treating on Halloween night in Pacific Palisades.

The pirate with his booty.  
Let the sugar-rush begin.
Almost every Halloween shot I have of Gavin also has a sucker/lollipop in it too.  This kid likes suckers.  In fact, while trick-or-treating, if Gavin was allowed to pick out his own candy he would always dig through the bowl till he could find a couple of suckers to take.  At first I thought it was so funny, but then I started to get concerned about the lack of chocolate in his bag and wondered what I was going to eat.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Grandma and Grandpa Wallwork had reserved a condo down in Newport beach for the week of Gavin's birthday and Disneyland.  We were able to stay several days there and had a wonderful time swimming in their pools, watching movies, and staying up late playing canasta.  On our last day there we visited Crystal Cove and spent some time exploring the tide pools and taking in the awesome scenery.  It was a little cool out by the water that late in the day, but Gavin loved spending good quality time with his grandparents.


Gavin hadn't been to Disneyland yet, so we thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate his second birthday.  Grandma and Grandpa Wallwork were still here to join us, but unfortunately Curtis had just left for his business trip to Germany.  We plan on going again during the holidays so that Curtis can come.  We had a great time though.  Again, the weather was quite hot, but luckily the crowds were small and most of the lines were short.  We only encountered a couple of melt-downs, one of which was probably from me, and sanely made it to almost every ride we wanted to see.  Gavin wasn't too sure about meeting Mickey Mouse at first, but eventually warmed up to the idea as long as I was holding him.   Gavin was given a 'birthday badge' when we arrived so that everyone would know that he was a birthday boy.  Everywhere we went in the park people were wishing him a happy birthday and would even shout it from far away.  It was the perfect way to celebrate a second birthday.  When we left 12 hours later our feet were throbbing and we were exhausted, but we had a wonderful day that we'll never forget.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Wallwork for being such troopers.  We can't wait for our next visit.

The newest member of the Mickey Mouse Club.
Isn't he the cutest Mousekateer you've ever seen?
Even though Gavin was a little scared of meeting Mickey Mouse in person, he loved his Mickey Mouse ears and his new Mickey Mouse stuffed animal (which he calls baby).  You would have thought Gavin was his biggest fan by how sweetly he treats his new toy.  Maybe he just didn't want Mickey to know.

Hanging out in the tree-house, which I still think was way better when it was staged as Swiss Family Robinson, but Gavin loved it.

By this point we were very hot and sweaty, Gavin needed a nap, and we were more than ready to eat lunch.  This was as good as the picture was going to get at that moment.  All the other pictures I have here at the castle Gavin is either screaming, squirming or flailing some extremity.  So, here it is.  The Magical Disneyland castle--with a 2 year old.

Autopia--A must ride for Gavin.  He had a little fit though because he couldn't steer the car while we were actually moving.  Can you imagine the whiplash?

Minney Mouse's house.  He probably spent over a half an hour here in her kitchen.  He just loved this refrigerator and her oven and dishwasher.  He could have spent all day there.  I'm telling you, he's gonna be a chef.

Of course this car was a big big hit over at Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.  He had to keep taking turns with other kids who wanted to sit in it, but he didn't care.  He probably would have stayed in this all day too if we'd let him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Gavin turns 2!!  The theme of his birthday party this year was Cars, the Disney movie.  This is his favorite movie right now and is starting to get quite the collection of Cars toys.  We decided to throw his actual birthday party a few days early because Curtis was scheduled to fly to Germany for work and wanted him to be there for at least some of the festivities.  The day of the party we put Gavin down for his usual nap and while he was sleeping we decorated the whole living room and got out all of his presents and his birthday cake.  When he finally woke up and walked out of his room it turned into a surprise party of sorts.  We all yelled 'surprise!' and I think he certainly was.  It was so nice to have Grandma and Grandpa Wallwork here to help us celebrate.

I had picked up a dozen helium filled balloons plus one huge Lightning McQueen  mylar balloon to fill the room with color and set the theme.  Grandma and Grandpa blew up all of the red balloons on the floor and Curtis artfully hung the streamers for me.  It certainly looked very festive when we were all done decorating and I know Gavin loved it.

Gavin received quite a few gifts this year (big surprise) and had so much fun opening all of them.  He got a couple of really nice bigger gifts that he liked, but his most favorite gift of all was this $3.00 Lightning McQueen car.  He wouldn't put it down.  Go figure.  He really did love all of his presents though--they all seemed perfectly suited for him and his interests.  Thank you very much to all of you who sent gifts and cards.  We really appreciate it and Gavin was very excited each time he got a package or a card in the mail.  He knew they were for him and tried to open them immediately, which he usually did.

Gavin trying out his new push-along buggy while dad finishes assembling it.  He has always loved these little cars and we were so excited to finally get one for him.  Who cares that it's the size of a coffee table and takes up half of his bedroom--we finally just threw our hands up and said 'oh well.'  Just as long as we don't collect a whole fleet of them.

His birthday cake this year.  I'm not sure why he looks so scared here in this picture.  He might have been a little worried about that flame I think.  Just like last year, he didn't want anything to do with eating his birthday cake.  He loves ice cream and ate all of that, but wouldn't take more than one bite of cake.  I'm sure someday that will change.

Gavin and I livin' it up!  Woo-who, look who's two!


This year to get our pumpkins we decided to go to Underwood Farms and make a whole day out of it.  Grandma and Grandpa Wallwork had just arrived in town and we thought this would be a nice outing to all do together.  Unfortunately, it was over 90 degrees out that day so it was a little warmer than we would have liked for pumpkin picking.  Instead of busting out the coats and scarves, we had to bring sunscreen and lots of water.  Typical California I guess.  This farm was really neat though.  It had a corn maze, a tractor collection, lots of farm animals, and of course plenty of pumpkins.  We'll definitely go back next year, but hopefully it will be a little cooler next time.

A family portrait--pug and all.

Pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins.

This kid definitely has a tractor obsession.

Even Banjo got to come on this outing.  Luckily they had these neat wagons for us to pull Banjo in because he really doesn't do well in that kind of heat.  He had made himself into an instant pug-rug the second he got out of the car.  Gavin ended up riding in it with Banjo too for most of the time.

The hay pyramid that the boys just had to climb up.


This was our first time to the L.A. zoo as a family.  Since we bought an annual pass we plan on making several trips back through the next year.  In fact, we have already been back two or three times in the last month.  The giraffes here are one of my favorites in the whole zoo.  They are so curious and friendly and love coming up to you to 'say hi'.  This enclosure also lets you get super close to them and right at eye level.  Gavin liked imitating them by sticking his tongue out and shaking his head around.  I guess he likes them too.

The petting zoo is a big hit with Gavin.  He is a big fan of these goats now and loves following after them wherever they go.

An especially friendly guy who actually was quite fond of Gavin.  Aren't they so cute?!

Gavin was very curious about the gorillas and seemed to watch this one by the glass for a while.  Although he was off in a flash running down the pathways as soon as he realized he wasn't buckled in his stroller.

A handsome elephant giving us a nice little show--thanks to the caretaker in the bushes throwing him carrots.

Curtis amongst the bamboo.


A week after our trip to Santa Barbara we decided to head back up that way to spend a day at the Oxnard harbor.  We had just intended on walking around, getting lunch, and maybe doing some shopping, but once we got there we thought we would try something new.  We noticed that there were boat rentals available and I quickly took interest in the little motorized boat with a canvas awning--it looked very family friendly and easy to drive.  But as my luck would have it Curtis had his sights set on the little sail boat.  He reassured me that he knew how to sail, even though he's never mentioned it during our nearly 10 years of marriage, and that we would be just fine.  After he finally convinced me that we would not get stranded out in the harbor somewhere we suited up and set sail.  I have to admit that I was quite impressed with Curtis' sailing abilities.  He was such a natural and it seemed as though he had done it a million times before.  I finally was able to relax and enjoy the scenery and we all had a wonderful time out on the water.  I learned something new about my husband that day.

Captain Curtis.
  Maneuvering through the harbor like an old pro.  It wasn't until we were on the boat that I finally learned how Curtis got his sailing experience.  A summer weekend spent at a lake with some friends in Florida.  He took the boat out on his own and taught himself how to sail.  Oh yeah, and he was only 9 years old!!  Before we set sail I wouldn't have consider one solo outing from 25 years ago (at the age of 9!!) to be enough experience, but obviously for Curtis it was.  We ticked and tacked our way through that harbor and had an unforgettable afternoon.  He's just lucky he told me that fact after we set sail :-).

This was Gavin's first time out on a boat.  I was certainly nervous about it, since there is a lot going on when you sail, but he was fine and enjoyed seeing all the birds, sea lions, and other boats in the harbor.  We'll have to make another trip up again in the near future.

Friday, November 7, 2008


This September we made the hour and a half drive up the coast to Santa Barbara for one fun-filled day.  We crammed as many activities as we could into a Saturday and made a nice tour around the city.  We already have planned our next trip up though because there is just too much to do and you can't really get enough of this beautiful coastal town.  Next time we will stay for a whole weekend.

A neat little park that we found with lots of boulders to climb around on.  Some little bug or something that Curtis is showing Gavin.  There is always a nature lesson to be learned when we are out and about.

Me and my boy.

The Santa Barbara Mission.  My first time to a mission here in California.  It was so beautiful and peaceful and the grounds were gorgeous.  Can't wait to find other missions to visit.

For once we finally rented one of these quadcycle thingies that we always see when we visit coastal towns.  It was really fun, a little harder to pedal than I expected, but a lot of fun.  We took it to an ice cream shop and cruised up and down the board walk.  These things can seat up to 8 or 10 people, it's pretty impressive to see one that large.

Down by the water.  Curtis made this little boat out of a feather, a shell, and a piece of driftwood.  Only my husband could pull that off.  The real impressive part though was that it actually worked.  It stayed upright and drifted away peacefully until a nice wave got it I think.

Underneath the Santa Barbara Pier.  Completely soaked and covered in sand at this point.  With the sun setting, we were just about ready to head home.