Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Super-Awesome Family Day...Part 1

So, it felt like forever since Marco got to take some time off of work. My grandmother was going to be spending a week with us, so Marco decided to take some days off from his job. Since some of the time was falling on Christmas day, he didn't have to count that day and was able to get an extra day off. We had a wonderful time while grandma was here. We took her to see the lights at Mission Inn in Riverside, the movies, out to eat...we had a really great time just being together. Marco had that extra day off after she left, so we decided it would be a family day. We didn't have a lot of money to spend, but we knew that wouldn't matter. The kids would be glad to have dad to themselves for a day. So, off we went...

First stop - IHOP. Wow, it had been a while since we last went. Everything on the menu was calling our name. =]

This is the face I got when I asked her how happy she was that daddy had the day off with us.

Yours truly, enjoying a cup of joe.

What? We like taking pictures...of food...and people...and well, everything.

These two are great buddies. Makes me so happy. Breakfast is done...let's hit the freeway and head out to Santa Monica. Should take us about an hour.

Surprised the kids with some Pop Rocks on the way for diversion. Remember these? They're still just as much fun as ever.

We drove past the Santa Monica Pier toward Malibu because we saw that the beach was open and empty except for one real well-known section that was filled with surfers. We wanted to find a place to pull over and let the kids go down to explore. It was the perfect day...

Here we are...the kids would stay dry for another 24 seconds after this picture was taken. Oh, well. It was fun.

Every direction you looked had a beautiful view. Isn't God amazing? Wow. To know that the winds and waves even obey Him. I love it.

Of course, Little Marco was beside himself with excitement. His feet were soaked. He was so happy though...

Super-Awesome Family Day - Part 2

I looked up to see Hannah showing Taryn how to make a heart with her fingers and then Hannah took a picture of it and the sun was shining through the heart perfectly!! I am going to ask if I can post it here, but the reason I like this picture is because I love catching moments when my children are interacting beautifully with each other. Makes me happy.

Just liked how this muscle shell contrasts with the sand...

Hands down, the best daddy and husband in the world. Hands down. =]

Cool bamboo growing by the road. We got back in the car and headed for Santa Monica Pier.

This. This is my life. You are looking at it...right there. *sigh*

The Morales Girls all in a row.

The view from the pier. We just sat and talked and looked.

...and he screamed. hahaha

We did have an ice-cream for lunch. =] Then we headed out to the famous Pink's Hot Dogs near Hollywood for dinner... What? You've never heard of them? Oh, no. You are missing out.

Really cool facades on the buildings...Oh...I think I see it!!

Since 1939...That's a long time. Look at the line....

It wrapped around the front of Pink's, around the antique shop next door and then wrapped around the back of the buildings. It took Marco about an hour or so to get to where he is there in the line. Maybe an hour and a half or more total wait time.

They have every possible variation you can imagine, named after all different stars - even Martha Stewart, with chili, cheese, veggies, onion rings, whatever... They don't write it down and you better be ready when you get to the front. Know what you want and say it quick - oh, and it's cash only. That's good to know if you're going to wait all that time. hehehe

Oh, and here is why they are SO good. Specially made hot dogs by Hoffy. 10 inches and there's this kind of "snap" that they have when you bite into them...mmmmm...and flavored just right. Yeah. Really good.

Worth the wait. Headed to the Grove next...

Super-Awesome Family Day... Part 3

So after our bellies were full, yet again, we went to the Grove in Los Angeles. It's a great shopping center and also the location of the famous Los Angeles Farmer's Market. We just wanted to see the giant Christmas tree and musical fountains and the Farmer's Market, but we also knew that the kids would love looking at the different stores.

The dancing fountains...

This tree is over 100 feet tall. It is spectacular to see in person. Here's more fun facts about it.

This is the LARGEST Barnes & Noble I've ever been to. It's got 3 stories. I practically hyperventilate every time I enter.

This is just the entry way!!
Okay, so here is the store that the girls really like to visit. I have to admit that I really like it too. I love the historical display that they have on the second floor. It was so funny, because Little Marco did not say one word the whole time we were in there. He just sat in the stroller with this dumb founded look on his face. So adorable!

This is in front of the Felicity doll display...

They had a little Christmas money burning a hole in their pocket so...

This is at the entry of the Farmer's Market. There is so much to see (and eat) here. Of course, we were stuffed and didn't buy one thing, but next time, we'll save our appetites for this place. They have all kinds of ethnic foods that are cooked fresh, or fish/seafood that you can buy and have made, etc.

One of my favorites...the nut display.

How about all of the different flavored popcorn? mmmmm...

Some pretty good looking produce...

...and well, just look at Marco's face...Yum!

We headed home after we walked through the market and eyeballed everything. We were tired and ready for bed. It was just a perfect day - the most perfect thing being that we were together. Thank you God - we are blessed beyond measure.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December Snapshots...

December is always a busy month, but this December seemed to just really a matter of fact...I don't even know what happened to 2009. Well, I haven't been as faithful to my on-line journaling as I like, but I hope to stay on top of that a little better this year. I think that with my full-time (away from home) work, family and church responsibilities - and facebook - I've let my blog fall by the way side. The sad part is that it bothers me. I miss it.
Well, I didn't want to leave any of you (that are still stopping by) hanging. Here is my December in a nutshell. Reverse order...okay? =]
Here we are with my grandmother. She is 85 this year. I am so blessed to be able to have had her here for a visit. The children love getting to know their great-grandmother better and it warms my heart to watch them interact with her. She is such a special lady. Marco loves having her here as well since he never really knew any of his grandparents. We had a great week together!

Here are the kids on Christmas morning. They were dying to get to their gifts, but they know the routine. Put up with a little picture taking, wait for mom to get her coffee, listen as dad reads the Christmas story from the book of Luke, pray as a family...and THEN they can start the mayhem. It was especially neat watching Little Marco this year. He was so excited and his little cheeks stayed red the whole time. It was a great day.

The deacons and church members did a great birthday party for Marco. They really do love him and I am so glad, because he loves them so much. I will be so glad when he is able to work full-time with just the church work. Obviously, you can see that there was a USC theme. haha

Naomi sang in her first School Christmas program. They sang Rudolph. It was adorable. She did a great job, even though she was looking for us the whole time she was singing. Sweet girl.

Here is Hannah doing a geography presentation on South Korea. She had to dress up in traditional costume, give an oral report, have a presentation board, and share some foods/snacks that represented her country. She did a great job!

Well, we finished up the month and the year with some other special activities, but I wanted to put them in a separate post... thanks for still coming by...I'll try to meet you here more often! ;]