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 View this video montage created at One True Media
Our Journey to Emma

Welcome to our adoption website. This is so friends and family can keep up with us during our amazing journey to adopt a baby from China. We traveled to China in February 2006 to bring our daughter Emma home. Our travel journals are archived in the drop-down box under the web buttons. This website continues so Emma's family and friends can continue checking out her progress and daily adventures.


December: This month was filled with new experiences. Emma was finally ready to test for her next belt in Taekwondo (TKD). She did great and even got a red stripe on her belt, which means she did more than was expected at her testing. She was so proud!

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Our neighbors have a tree that looses lots of leaves in the fall. Not very common around these parts, so one day we helped them rake thier leaves, which includes an obligation to jump in the leaves afterwards.

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Our annual gingerbread house day at school. Mawmaw joined us this year.

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And our annual gingerbread decorating at home. A train this year.

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A magic show with the grandparents. Emma got to meet some of the cast afterwards.

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Lots of Christmas fun:

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Santa must have been helping the tooth fairy. She pulled out a loose tooth on Christmas Eve and found the tooth money in her stocking!

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After Christmas we took an overnight trip to visit with family. All Emma wanted to do was hold one of her "baby" cousins. We kept telling her that her youngest cousins were two year old little boys and probably didn't want to be held. She lucked out and her little cousin, four year old Ginger, let Emma hold her for a minute. Sweet.

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Five kids opening presents all at once took about three minutes! Paper flying everywhere.

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Tournament: November brought us Emma's first tournament. We got in the car for a long weekend and headed to Dallas. Emma did wonderfully in her very first TKD tournament. We were nervous for her since there were so many people there. But she did great and took bronze in forms!

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Great scores, baby!

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The rest of the month was filled with smore's, ice skating and bubbles.

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TKD "Class in the Grass". A fun afternoon outside of the school that included regular class time and a picnic afterwards with a dessert contest. I won second place with my Karate Cake Pops!

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Ooops, totally missed hitting the pad!

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Halloween 2012: Emma was a cute little Tiger and Mawmaw wore her Raggedy Ann costume from 1977.

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10/8/2012: We took a quick long weekend trip to Sea World this weekend. It was our first visit and we had tons of fun. We arrived on Friday afternoon to an empty park.

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Made our way to the Scare Zone, but didn't stay there long, because it WAS really scary, at least to seven year olds.

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I didn't get any pictures of the scary people, as I was trying to hide someone behind me, but these guys were pretty cute and sung a song for us.

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We made our way through the penguin attraction to get our minds off the scary people.

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The next morning, we saw a quick show with the baluga whales and dolpins.

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Decided to go feed the dolphins. They were so cute, unless you didn't have any food, then they splashed you!

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SHARK!!! I don't know what the face is about, she wasn't scared.

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Then we moved on to the water park and fed the sting rays. Her favorite part!

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They splashed too!

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We really enjoyed the water park!!

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Play land!

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Halloween decorations everywhere.

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She actually rode that roller coaster behind her. Never again, she says.

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Yesterday we did some sight seeing downtown.

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Ripley's

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August 2012: Fun at the museum:

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Tree hugger:

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Rainy weekend visit with family in NO:

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Second Grader!

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July 2012: Fourth of July celebrations.

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Running the bases at the baseball game.

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The Circus is in town.

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Theater Camp:

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Rainforest:

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Starting TKD:

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6/10/2012: May/June: May is always crazy busy for us. End of school, two birthdays... Emma began receiving birthday presents in the mail early, so it felt like a birthday month for her. She was so excited to go to the mail every day to see if there was anything addressed to her.

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We had a duplicate party of last year, since it was so much fun and the gym ran the party perfectly. The kids played in the gym for about an hour. I think Emma's favorite part was when the coaches did the "swing then fling" into the foam ball pit.

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After an exhausting hour, the kids had pizza and tie-dyed cupcakes with sugar peace signs. This was the first time we did homemade cupcakes for her birthday party. They were fun to make and tasted so good.

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We said goodbye to first grade with a "Celebration of Learning" presentation. The kids sang a bunch of songs for us, then each child got presented with awards. Emma was voted by her classmates to be the neatest worker. She also got the principals award, the academic ace award, and the awesome artist award.

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Saying goodbye to our awesome first grade teacher. We will miss her!!!

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Now that summer (and the heat) has kicked in, we've been having fun. Emma and I did a little mini-golfing, which basically was her smacking the ball around till it got near the hole.

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Lunch with a fantastic view.

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Fun at the local water park.

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Trying out Daddy's new toy.

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At the aquarium. This little guy loved the kids!

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Cutie.

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Having some grandparent time.

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Trying out some fun things at the outdoor store.

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Lining up the bow and arrow....

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....they got one of the targets!

Dance Camp:

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Whew, what an update!


4/29/2012: Baseball: This weekend we caught our first minor league baseball game. It was a great experience - perfect for families. Even Emma had a great time. There was a full playground, which was packed most of the game. It was quite windy too, thank goodness for shorts under the dress!!

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A cute carousel.

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A swimming pool??? I think this is only for birthday party packages, as I didn't see anyone in it the whole game.

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We got to watch a beautiful sunset over the park.

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Yea! Their very first win of their first ever season!!!!

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Emma got attacked by their mascot - literally got picked up by a Texas sized mosquito!

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Ended with a really nice fireworks show and kids (and Dad) got to run the bases.

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4/08/2012: Happy Easter/Birthday/Wedding: It's been a busy couple of weeks. We attended a wedding of my dear friend. She made a beautiful bride.

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The next day, celebrated my birthday and Emma decided it was a great swim day. The water was still quite chilly, but she loved it.

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Then it was Easter time. We did some crawfish and decorated eggs. Tried to do the crayon eggs this year, but they didn't end up like the instructions said they would. Still fun though.

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Working on some night photography. Still needs some work, but it was a gorgeous night.

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3/25/2012: Bluebonnet Pictures 2012: Here we are with our seventh straight year taking Bluebonnet pictures. We thought we'd have the best year ever, after all the rain we've seen lately. The flowers were good, but not as plentiful as we thought. As always, it's a search. Seems like you don't find them in the same place year after year, but there is always one constant..... ice cream at the Bluebonnet factory (as long as it's not sunday!!).

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There were TONS of these yellow wild flowers. Not sure what they were, but we haven't seen as many as we did this year. **UPDATE: Just found out what these flowers are called. Our local paper did a story on them today about how they are taking over the other wild flowers. They are called, wait for it...... B@stard Cabbage. Really? Not the latin name, but that's what they are called!

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And fullfilling our end of the bribe.

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3/25/2012: Day 6: And the busiest day yet. It was our last day, so we were going to hit our favorites one more time. We got a fast pass for SM, and then headed straight to BTM again. Here we are waiting in line and you can see the train and the dino in the background.

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Blaine, hamming it up.

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My speed demon.

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As you can see from this picture, this is a crowded weekend!!

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Then park hopped to California Adventure, for their opening, and ran to Toy Story. The line quickly reached 90 minutes within opening. Crazy. We waited maybe 10 minutes since we were there first.

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This was a cute little photo op they had set up on the boardwalk.

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Since we were right there, we tried to go on California Screamin' (the big coaster), but my little 47" tall girl was not happy that she was just under the height requirement. I made her happy by agreeing to go on the Silly Swings with her.

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We ran into some random character, Duffy Bear, and took a photo with him. I think he's Mickey's stuffed animal. He's really cute and apparently very popular in the Japan park.

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We passed by Bugs Land and decided to jump into the It's Tough to be a Bug movie. Not my favorite, but it's cute.

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We found a little adventure area, based on the movie Up!, where kids can try to earn "badges" by solving puzzles, careening on zip lines, or in this case, rock climbing. It looks like she's way up, but the ground is about 10" below her feet.

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We made our way back to SM, to use our fast passes and we're happy to pass that long line! We were about 3/4 the way through the ride, and suddenly the lights went on and we stopped. Blaine and I had the same thought and instinctively turned around to make sure another car wasn't going to crash into us. We waited for about 20 minutes until our rescuer arrived and freed us from the car, to walk back to the end of the ride. The huge line had been cleared and they shut down the ride for whatever repairs were needed. It was interesting, as I had wondered the whole time what the inside of Space Mountain looked like. Well, here you go.

The red is another car above us.

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Walking back to the ride exit.

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We ran into the Pixar parade and saw Boo.

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Sully!!! My all time favorite!!

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The sun started to set on the castle and another fabulous Disney vacation.

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As always, this seems to be my favorite photo to take at Disney.

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3/25/2012: Day 5: Can't believe it's taking me a month to update a week of vacation! Day five we were back in the parks and it was noticeably much more busy. It was officially the start of the holiday weekend and the locals were starting to pack the parks.

We were able to enter the park one hour early than the general admission, so we took advantage of that hour and ran to Space Mountain. She looks scared, but she loved that ride!

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We also went to a not-so-favorite ride of Emma's - the Haunted Mansion. I think it scares her a little, even though she knows the ghosts aren't real.

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While we were already scaring her, we went ahead and did Pirates of the Caribbean before it got too crowded. Since we were already in New Orleans Square, we decided to try some of Tianna's beignets. They need to go take some lessons from Cafe du Mon.de. Took them forever to get us our Mickey shaped beignets. They were good though.

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We also caught the Buzz Lightyear ride, since we never managed to make it the two times we were in Disney World.

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During the afternoon, we searched out the least crowded places. In Frontier Land, we found a little log cabin with a couple of large tables and some coloring sheets with crayons. We spent almost two hours here. I think we all needed a little quiet time and this fit the ticket. We also spotted a little petting zoo that was nearly deserted.

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We went into alot of the movie places to watch Disney clips and historical collections. This was pretty cool. They had the actual bench that Walt Disney was sitting upon when he dreamed of Disneyland.

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The castle....not in the rain.

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3/12/2012: Day 1: Flashback to day one. Yea! I managed to edit this and upload it.


3/12/2012: Day 4: I'm making progress!! On day four, we park hopped. It's so easy to park hop as opposed to the parks in Florida. They are literally a five minute walk away from each other. I was determined not to leave California without seeing one of the newer attractions, World of Color, so we decided to buy the "picnic" lunch which got us passes for a good section to view the show in later in the day. We got in line about 70 minutes before the show and got a great viewing spot (well, except for that one darned light post, but it was still amazing).

We started the day driving. We saw a ton of underage drivers and Emma decided to join right in. Scary thought!

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Dad was lucky to be following us and got to have his own vehicle.

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We spent a while chasing princesses. We told Tiana that I was from New Orleans too and that we heard that she made some of the beignets in Disneyland. She said yes, we had to go try some.

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Next was Ariel...

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and Jasmine.

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Took a few more whirls on BTM - Emma's fav! Front row this time.

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Check out the hidden mickey in front of BTM.

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Spent most of the day in Toon Town. It was so cute and colorful. We actually met someone from Blaine's teeny-tiny home town, who ended up being the son of his high school football coach. Of course we couldn't stop singing "it's a small world after all".

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We ran into some old friends.

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When it was finally time, we headed to our spot to see the World of Color. I was so excited and was not disappointed in this amazing show. We actually could have gotten a spot right by the water, but we were guaranteed to get wet, and it was rather chilly. We already had a night where we were cold and wet, so we decided to stand further back.

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I wish these pictures did justice to the amazing show.

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3/10/2012:

Part II - Day 3: Sorry, I've been doing contract work every evening since we returned and haven't finished updating our trip. On to the 2nd half of day three...

When you watch the Red Carpet at the Oscars, the celebrities then walk up the beautiful red tiled staircase that leads to the Kodak theater (which we couldn't enter, due to the Oscars). What you don't see when they are walking into the theater are the high-end stores leading to this amazing tiled staircase. They put up drapes in front of the stores, from ceiling to floor to cover them for the event. The staircase was beautiful.

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Afterwards, we were given a few minutes to roam the craziness that is Hollywood Blvd. Wow. The crazy people were out in full force. We had folks dressed like transformers, power rangers, spiderman, a very strange looking Minnie & Daisy, all wanting to charge for photos with them.

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This was in front of the Wax Museum.

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Then you had the street performers, the wanna-be's handing out their music on CD, then wanting to charge you if you took it, and the tour guides wanting to take you anywhere you would like to go. Even though we told them we were already on a tour, they persisted. You had to be direct and tell them NO. Even Emma was saying "We're not interested" by the end of that scene. We walked the Walk of Fame for a bit.

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Got a famous photo.

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Contemplated buying our own Oscar.

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And what's funny, is if you see the Hollywood Star in the photo above, our tour guides went and had them made for our whole group and handed them out (we're way in the back)

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On the bus again and on our way to Rodeo Drive. Wow, what a difference from Hollywood Blvd. I'm surprised we didn't need a credit check for walking down the street. This place was gorgeous.

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We first went to the street sign that was encrusted with Swarovski crystals. As we were taking pictures, we did notice a strange lady asking people for money. I didn't see a big police presence in the area, but I didn't see her stay there very long either.

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We then walked down Rodeo Drive to see the RegBevWil (movie reference anyone??). The Regent Beverly Wilshire from the movie Pretty Woman. We walked into the lobby and couldn't believe it was so tiny. Looks so huge in the movie.

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On to window shopping. We didn't dare go into any of the stores. We got looks anyway, wearing our mom jeans and sensible walking shoes.

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Check this out....Purple and Gold. Blaine wouldn't even let me go see how much it was.

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Yeah, right. Dream on baby!!

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The owner of one of the boutiques parks his $1.7 million dollar Bugatti Veyron on the street in front of his store. Apparently you can't just walk into his store, you have to have an appointment.

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Our bus driver then drove and gave us an hour's tour of some famous/notorious places as he took us to our next destination, Malibu. We drove down Sunset Blvd. and passed places like the Viper Room, the Laugh Factor, the Comedy Store, and the Beverly Hills Hotel, which had a memorial to Whitney Houston who had passed away the week before. We drove down the PCH and made our way to Gladstones Restaurant on the beach.

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They told us what Gladstones was famous for - some reality show or something. I don't watch that much tv, so I've never heard of it. It was really pretty though and a nice way to end the day. Michael and Dean had an appetizer buffet set up for us and handed out Mojitos. Emma had a Shirley Temple and LOVED it.

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Afterwards, we went out on the beach and Emma was given strict instructions NOT to get soaked in the water. Well, we all know how that ended. She wasn't too happy having her legs washed down in the sink in the bathroom, but her delicate skin was super itchy.

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We cleaned up and watched a gorgeous sunset over the Malibu beach and got back on the bus to head back to Disney.

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This tour was really a nice break from the parks and we got to see so much. Our guides were awesome and fun too.

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The worst part of the day was the 45 mile, but almost three hour drive, back to Disney. We were fighting Friday rush hour (and holiday weekend) traffic. They played a Disney movie for us on the way back (my least favorite, of course) to keep us entertained. Then around 8:30pm after arriving at the hotel, we got one last picture with our hosts for the day. And Emma had a tight grip on that Sprinkles cupcake that Michael had gotten us from Rodeo drive.

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Whew. I'm exhausted just updating half of day three!!!


2/25/2012:

Day 3: This was a fun change of pace. We signed up for the Lights Camera Magic tour by Disney. We met our group at 8am and boarded our bus. First we were brought to Disney Studios, where many of the Disney shows are filmed.

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Here is the lobby of one of the private screening rooms. Notice Fantasia?

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We got to see Pooh's Oscar...

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...the original MM watch.

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One of the sculptures from Narnia movie.

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Selena's recent platinum record with Michael our tour guide (and Emma was given a Hannah M. CD)

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The a tour of the grounds. So cool!!

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The only "partners" statue you can take pictures with since the ones in the parks are up on pedestals and surrounded by gardens.

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Walt, Emma & Minnie. (*Blaine tells me this isn't Walt, so I guess he's probably a good friend of Walt - Roy, possibly?).

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One of the ink rooms.

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From there, we boarded the bus and were on our way to Hollywood! We got a private tour of Grauman's Chinese Theater and got to find the hand/foot prints of our favorite stars.

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Marilyn: (notice Emma's feet are larger than Marilyn's - they were crazy tiny).

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Then we walked next door to the Kodak Theater where you can see they were setting up for the Oscars that are being held one week after we were there.

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The entry way to the Kodak, it was closed due to set up for the Oscars, but it's interesting to see how they've listed the top movie of the year on each of the lit up panels on the columns leading up to the theater.

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2/25/2012:

Day 2: We didn't get as early a start as we wanted, because we were exhausted from the previous day, but the beautiful weather soon beckoned us. We headed to California Adventure and right to Paradise Pier where we did most of the carnival rides.

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The Golden Zephyr - didn't care for this one too much.

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The Silly Swings. Fun!

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This shot cracks me up.

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Mickey's Fun Wheel

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Triton's Carousel

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Another of Emma's favorites: Goofy's Sky School. I could only do this ride one time! Yikes.

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And of course, everyone's favorite: Toy Story

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On the way off the Pier, we ran into the Mouse! So do you see the difference in a size 6 sweater and a size 7 t-shirt?

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Afterwards, it was time to stop for a snack. Ahhh, this became a daily snack. LOVE LOVE LOVE those Mickey bars. Emma had the ice cream sandwich bar.

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Next we ventured off to Bugs Land and did all the rides there.

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I loved the attention to detail in this particular land. The clover soared over our heads and the lights were all lightening bugs and the benches were used popsicle sticks.

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Looming right next to Bugs Land was the Tower of Terror. I've never been on this ride, as I don't really like being dropped straight down, but Emma was willing, so I was too. Needless to say, I think this is the only time we'll be going on this ride. Not my cup of tea.

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Here's the proof.

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Afterwards, we took a detour to Downtown Disney and found a Build-a-Bear. I happened to have a really good coupon with me, so Emma got a little dog, she named Lilly. It's ears and paws have Mickey heads all over it and can only be purchased there. She was so excited, and what a perfect souviner for her.

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2/25/2012: We've just returned from a surprise trip to Disneyland. We've never been to the parks in California, so this was a nice change for us. We woke up Emma and she read her surprise note that we were leaving for CA TODAY! She proceeded to scream and bounce around the room. Then she suddenly stopped and said "are you joking?" It was too funny. I wish I could get the video to upload. I'll have to work on it.

Day 1: After flying to CA we arrived and still had plenty of time to go into the park. However it was raining. Well, we donned our ponchos and walked to Disneyland. Good thing about the light rain, the park was empty!!

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We managed to do all the rides in Fantasy Land in no time at all.

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The Teacups were not running due to the rain, but it was really pretty in the drizzly rain.

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Emma then found one of her favorite things to do: Big Thunder Mtn.

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We rode it about 5 times, until it started to rain harder and it wasn't much fun in the pelting rain.

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After a while, it was getting dark and Emma was freezing. We found some hot cocoa and called it a night.


1/29/2012: We've really been enjoying the mild winter this year. We've spent many weekends outside, and just today we flew our kite on the beach. It was nice to enjoy a nearly deserted beach.

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Our little beach baby was so happy to get back to the sand and even tried to inch closer and closer to the water, even though she was warned that we had no towels or change of clothes.

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We walked a little further down and got to inspect the rock sculptures and build a couple of our own. Emma told us she wants to be a geologist and was loving all the rocks. We let her take a little one home, since they are studying rocks this week in school.

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It was so beautiful outside that we found a great place to sit and watch the water for a while.

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Back at the house working on the two wheeler. Child has no balance!!

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Earlier this month at the aquarium.

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I had to explain what a pirogue was!

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At a lunar new year celebration.

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Our little scientist.

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