Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Evan Protect Me"

Ellena has become afraid of a variety of things lately - monsters, the dark, loud sounds, bugs and spiders, scary tv shows - you name it, she's probably afraid of it. We have been struggling with bedtime and our endless methods would take up a separate blog post. But I caught the two kiddos yesterday snuggling on the couch as they watched a Halloween show, which Ellena deemed too scary. She insisted on watching it, as long as Evan protected her. Evan was thrilled to be the brave protector, but at one point, he did admit that Ellena was squishing his hand behind her back and that it was uncomfortable for him. But he took the pain and kept his hand there, just to ease her fears. I love seeing the two of them so loving towards each other - a nice break from their contrariness!

Lego Fever

Both Evan and Ellena have Lego fever - they LOVE their Legos! Luckily, Ellena does not put the pieces in her mouth, so we can have the Legos out without worrying about choking. We got some cool bricks at the Lego store this weekend, and also found some Lego man headlamps for the kids on clearance. Could not resist!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little Gym

Thanks to Groupon, Ellena got a few classes at the Little Gym. She did pretty well, considering the many little bodies tumbling and bouncing around her - she does not like people in her space and is not afraid to vocalize her unhappiness! Today Ellena practiced her forward tumbles and can now do them unassisted! She was introduced to backward tumbles, backwards walking on the balance beam and walking sideways along the horizontal bars. In the above picture, she practiced balancing on one leg.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Imagination Movers

Last night we went to the Imagination Movers performance at the Paramount Theatre. We all had a rockin' time! They put on a great show and the kids loved it! Pops and I felt so old, thinking it was a bit loud. :) There was an opening act, "Choo Choo Soul", and Evan kept turning to Pops and asking when the Imagination Movers were coming out. He was clearly not amused by the openers.

Whenever they wanted audience participation, they would shine a bright light into the crowd. Ellena thought it was too bright and would make this face.

After the show, we walked over to Dragonfish and had dinner. Pops was not impressed with the food he ordered, but my meal was pretty good - miso skirt steak with tempura onions and yams. Their restrooms were located inside the connecting hotel, so we all made a trip before leaving. As we walked through the lobby to go, Pops and I noticed a few guys sitting in the couches. Hey, it's the Imagination Movers! We asked if we could take a picture and they were just the nicest, most accommodating guys. The kids were enamored and Ellena didn't want to leave. By the way, we didn't make Mover Dave take the picture, he just wasn't in the lobby at the time.) What a truly special way to end the night!

San Francisco Trip - Day 4

On our last day, we walked over to the Palace Hotel to check out their courtyard. Ellena was all monku and you can see it in her face. On our way back to our hotel, we came across a toy store. I told the kids we could go look, but we weren't buying anything. Well, turns out this toy store carried all the discontinued Legos! Specifically, the Power Miners Crystal Sweeper that Evan is set on getting for Christmas ("But you can't find it in stores" - "Santa can make anything.") So we got the Lego set and Evan will be "paying us back."

We took the streetcar to Pier 39 and ate lunch at Wipeout Bar and Grill - pleasant experience! The kids found a sea lion sculpture they enjoyed playing on.

We then took the Blue & Gold Fleet bay cruise - a one hour boat tour which went under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. When we asked Ellena what her favorite part of the trip was, she said Alcatraz. Not sure if she liked seeing the former prison island or if she just liked saying the word. You'll notice the wood railing behind the kids. Ellena was dragging her hand along the wood as we walked onto the boat. I told her not to do it or she would get splinters. Not one minute later, she gets this shocked look on her face and realizes she got 2 splinters! Needless to say, it was not a pleasant boat ride for her.

We caught the streetcar back to the hotel and I went in search of a sewing kit so I could dig the splinters out of her fingers. That's when I realize that I left my credit card back at the Wipeout restaurant. We book it back to our hotel to ask the concierge to call the restaurant and make sure it's there. We then go back to the streetcar stop and waited and waited and waited. Finally, it arrives and we go 2 stops when Ellena declares she needs to go potty. Serious?! So we get off and find a restroom for her. We are now running short on time and go in search of a cab. Happy ending - we make it to the restaurant, grab the card, cab it back to the hotel and grabbed a quick bite to eat in the hotel's restaurant (Ducca at the Westin Market Street: really excellent Grandmother's cake - basically a lemon tart, and meatball sliders) where Pops met us and the towncar was ready to whisk us to the airport! Phew! It was a lovely time, but it's always nice to be back home!

San Francisco Trip - Day 3

Day 3 was an adventure for us, since Pops was at his conference and we were on our own. We started off with Evan's new favorite thing - room service! We then walked together to the convention center, said good bye to Pops, and played at the convention center's playground and carousel.

We caught a cab to Japantown to meet with Aunty Ellen. The craziest of small worlds - we randomly ran into cousin Kay there too! Aunty took us to Iroha for lunch and the kids loved the food!

We rode on the cable car and took it all the way down to Fisherman's Wharf. We got off for an afternoon walk and decided to have an early dinner down there. Evan chose Capurro's because there was a statue of a sea captain outside. Ended up being a really good experience! Evan raved about the pizza, El loved her pasta, and Pops and I shared the yummiest garlic crab! (If Capurro's crab was a 10, Stinking Rose crab would be a 0 - it was awful.)

We ended up at Mel's Drive In for a sweet treat. Pops and Ellena shared a hot fudge sundae and Evan ate a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

San Francisco Trip - Day 2

After a big, tasty breakfast from Mel's Drive In, we headed to Pier 39. You can see Alcatraz in the background.

Here's Evan with the famous Pier 39 sea lions.

We then went to the Aquarium of the Bay. This was Evan's favorite place, because they had a moving walkway through the shark exhibit. We also got to watch them feed the seven gill sharks. And their touch tanks were really cool - sharks, sting rays and skates! Neat!

We went on an invigorating walk to Ghiradelli Square and the original Giradelli chocolate shop and ice cream parlor. The kids loved their ice cream cone with sprinkles and goodie bags. We said good bye to Aunty, Uncle and cousins and got a much needed afternoon nap. Then, it was off to Chinatown! Had a tasty meal at Oriental Pearl - and they even had Evan's favorite soup dumplings!!

San Francisco Trip - Day 1

We had an amazing time visiting San Francisco! We met up with Aunty Kim, Uncle Mike (Ellena calls him Uncle Dynamite!) and cousins Aaron and Kade. Together, we rode the train and bus to get to the California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park and saw their famous albino alligator.

The kids thought the dinosaur fossils were pretty cool!

We had dinner at the Stinking Rose - a good place for garlic lovers! My favorite part of the meal was the Bagna Calda (oven roasted garlic cloves in olive oil and butter) and steamer clams. Yum! And Evan and Aaron destroyed the super sundae!