Saturday, January 28, 2012

Going Home

It's been a wonderful vacation, especially being in this warm California weather.  While Mommy was finishing packing up our suit cases, Cousin Nancy showed me how to watch Sesame Street videos on the computer.  I've watched Minnie Mouse and Pluto videos before, but this was the first time I watched Sesame Street videos.  They were great fun to watch!

Grandpa drove us from Cousin Nancy's to the LAX Airport before heading back to Phoenix.  I was worried that my special Minnie Mouse balloon wouldn't make it through security.  But look!  She made it through just fine!

Since there was hardly any traffic on the way to the airport, we had lots of time waiting for our plane.  We stopped by Starbuck's to get a hot chocolate and chocolate muffin.  But they didn't have any chocolate muffins!  Mommy said I could have a brownie, even though we hadn't had lunch yet.  But don't tell Daddy!

Mommy asked where I wanted to sit while I ate, I went right over to the window where I could watch planes take off and land. She said Daddy would've loved to be with me.

We flew all the way to Chicago (where Mommy was born) from LA.  I had lots of fun running on the moving walkways, going super-duper fast!  Mommy decided to stay in the middle and kept and eye on me as I went back and forth on the walkways since she couldn't keep up with me. 

Unfortunately, we had lots of delays in Chicago.  First our flight crew was late.  Then the plane had a mechanical issue.  By the time we arrived in Ohio, it was well after 10:00 p.m.  It didn't help matters when Mommy couldn't find her car keys and had to search through all our luggage.  (Fortunately, she did find them before Daddy left home to bring us the spare set of keys.)

I fell asleep on the drive home and was so tuckered out that even though I'd been super excited to see Daddy again, I didn't wake up at all when we arrived home.  He carried me all the way upstairs and put me in bed without me waking up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Don't Want to Be a Cousin!

After we came back home, Mommy's cousins came over.  By this time I was pretty tired since I'd had such a busy day.  When Marshall, Alexander and Steffi came over, I took one look at all these new people and ran to the bedroom.  Mommy came to get me and said she really wanted me to meet our  cousins.  (Her Grandma Rose and their Grandpa Harold were brother and sister.)  I told her I didn't want to be a cousin.  I wanted to go to sleep!

Since it was past my bedtime anyway, Mommy said I didn't have to be in the group picture.  Alex and his wife Steffi are on the left and Marshall is on Mommy's other side.  Maybe I'll be braver next time I see them!

Have Daddy Fly Out Here!

After the beach Mommy and I were cleaning up to go out to dinner at one of Grandpa's favorite restaurants, when I told Mommy I didn't want to go back to Ohio.  She asked me if I missed Daddy.  "Of course I miss Daddy!" I'd replied.  "Just have Daddy fly out here instead of us flying back to Ohio."

I don't understand why we should leave 80 degree weather in January to go back to the freezing cold in Ohio.  Mommy commented that sometimes children are incredibly smart.

We went to Brent's Deli in Northridge.  The portions are super huge there, one reason why Grandpa loves that restaurant.  The second reason is Brent's has many traditional Jewish dishes like his mommy (my great-grandma Rose) made.  He and Cousin Nancy split the brisket dinner (which came with chopped liver, matzo ball soup, potato pancakes and other traditional fare) and still had leftovers to take back home!

Mommy's sad that she didn't take pictures of the dessert refrigerator.  There was a chocolate cake in it that was at least a foot high!  I know sometimes people are prone to exaggerate, but this chocolate cake was so big we had to show Grandpa and Cousin Nancy.  They'd never seen a cake that tall either.  Too bad we were so full from dinner to get any cake and we're leaving in the morning!

Fun at Santa Monica Beach and Pier

Grandpa is learning that Mommy moves along at "Piper speed" when we're on vacation.  You see, Piper speed can be translated in many different ways.  For instance, when I'm eating, there's "brownie speed" and then there's "greenbean speed."  I eat brownies super fast whereas greenbeans get cold and a few tears get shed before they're eaten.  So Piper speed means if I'm really interested in something, like playing at a McDonald's playground or walking doggies, Mommy will let me spend some extra time on that.

Later rather than sooner, we made it to the Santa Monica Beach/Pier area.  As we were walking towards the water with our beach towels still in hand, a man came up to Mommy asking if she wanted to buy some beach toys.  And she did!  This bucket had everything to make sand castles and sand "cookies".  I had fun for hours with all the neat toys! 

To make a good sand castle, I needed to get some wet sand.  The problem was the waves rushing towards me scared me a bit.  So I kept running away when the water came near me.

Grandpa started digging a hole to see how far down he needed to go before water would start coming up from the bottom.  Can you imagine that?  The ocean coming from underneath the sand!  That seemed really interesting, so I started helping him dig.

The hole was so deep that I could stick my entire leg down in it, but still no water from underneath the sand.

So I decided to get some water in my watering can to put in the hole.  Notice how I'm no longer concerned about getting wet, seeing as how my shorts are all wet now!

We went back to the car so I could change into some dry clothes before we headed over to the pier.  There were so many neat things to see and do!  There was a clown making really neat shapes out of balloons.  And as Mommy thinks it's important to help the economy, she bought me a Minnie Mouse balloon.  This clown made some super fancy balloons.  Have you ever seen a Minnie Mouse balloon like this?  I didn't think so.

Even though I'd already gone on the carousel once, Mommy said I could go again.  So I did!  (Mommy gets dizzy on these, so she waved as I went by.)  What a great end to a great day at the beach!

Taking Missy and Molly for a Walk

I've been wanting to take Missy and Molly on a walk since we arrived.  And now's my chance to show Cousin Nancy how good I am with doggies!  Obviously Missy and Molly were excited.  They couldn't wait to get going.

Even though Molly Sniffer is pretty small, she's really strong.  Look how far ahead Molly and I are from Cousin Nancy and Missy.  We're super fast!

I was distracted by the pretty flowers growing along the sidewalk.  So Mommy took over Molly's leash while I went and picked a few of the purple flowers.

We need to get back home to change.  We're going to go to the beach today.  Hooray!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Playing at McDonald's with Cassia

I may have mentioned Cousin Nancy taught kindergarten for a long time.  She's good friends with a family who has a daughter right about my age.  So she invited Cassia to come with us to a McDonald's that has a great indoor playground.  Mommy and Grandpa went next door to eat at Subway.  (Unlike me, they prefer to eat something different for lunch from one day to the next.)

Cassia and I both ordered Happy Meals.  And guess what?!  They had "fairy Barbies" in each of them.  Mine was pink and Cassia's was purple.  Do you know how much fun a girl can have at a playground WITH a fairy Barbie?  We learned that afternoon.  In fact, we were there so long, Grandpa Mitch went back to Nancy's and took a siesta.  Mommy and Cousin Nancy were able to talk for a long time since Cassia and I were so busy playing.

We climbed, crawled and went down slides over and over.  It was so much fun and I was so glad to make a new friend.

After going back to her home, I discovered Cousin Nancy has LOTS of great books perfect for someone my age.  I really liked this one, Mañana Iguana.  I asked Mommy to read it again to me later.

We went out to a local Mexican restaurant that night, but I was so tired from all the playing I did earlier that I fell asleep at dinner.  Mommy had told me before I fell asleep that if I didn't finish my food, I wouldn't get Cold Stone Ice Cream.  (And since Mommy loves Cold Stone Ice Cream so much, we were all going to go whether I was awake or not!)

I woke up at Cold Stone and wanted to order my own ice cream, but Mommy said no.  And when Mommy says "no" she means NO!  (My tears probably would have worked on Grandpa.)  She did let me have a few tastes of her "cake batter ice cream."

Overall, I'd say I had a great 1st day (outside an airport) in California!

Cleaning and Playing at Cousin Nancy's Pool

After breakfast this morning (super yummy pancakes!), I looked outside and saw Cousin Nancy has a swimming pool.  I love swimming!  But Mommy said the pool was too cold for us to go swimming.  Still, I wanted to get outside to get a closer look.  One of the things I noticed right away was the pool was dirty.  (The day before had been super windy and lots of leaves blew in the pool.)  So Mommy showed me how to use the pool net to help get out the leaves.  I never knew cleaning a pool could be so much fun!  (Grandpa came out a few minutes later and said the man who cleans the pool was going to be coming soon, so I should leave some work for him so he could still get paid.)

So I went inside to change.  (Can you tell I picked out my own outfit?)  I came back outside right away.  I put my feet in the water to see if it had warmed up at all.  (It hadn't.)  Missy came over to check out my wet footprintsl.

Then I sat down at the pool steps to put my feet in.  Missy seemed even more interested once I started splashing some water.

Molly came out to check out what all the commotion was about.  Molly didn't like chomping at the water like Missy, but she wanted to play, too.

By the time we were ready to go to lunch, Mommy said I had to change my outfit.  I can't understand why!  I was only wet up to my belly button.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Arriving at Cousin Nancy's

After four bathroom stops, an hour in LA's infamous traffic and 8 hours (for a trip that normally takes 6.5 hours), we finally made it to Cousin Nancy's.  And guess what?!  Like Auntie Jennifer, she has two doggies, too.  Here I am with Missy, whom I renamed "Missy Licker" because of all the kisses she gave me.

And Molly, the cream colored doggy whom I called "Molly Sniffer", also loved playing with me.  I could tell right away this was going to be a great visit!

Leaving Auntie Jennifer's

Yesterday I didn't get to wear my new sunvisor that Auntie Jennifer and I made since the glitter glue wasn't dried yet.  Doesn't it look great?

All too soon it was time to leave.  I had a great time staying with Auntie Jennifer this past week.  I was very sad to leave her.  She was pretty sad for me to be leaving, too.  So she put my princess tiara back on while Grandma Bunny was wearing my new sun visor.  That helped put a smile back on my face.

Grandma Bunny had come by this morning to say goodbye before Mommy and I left.  She gave me back my sun visor, but then put my hat from Uncle Scotty back on.  We like wearing hats!

Then Mommy and I drove back to the rental car agency while Grandpa Mitch followed us.  After dropping off the car, we were only on the road for 5 minutes before I announced I needed to go potty again.  Grandpa Mitch looked at me like I was kidding.  When Mommy informed him that when I say I need to go potty, I don't mean 20 minutes from now, I mean now, 5 minutes maximum.  At that point Grandpa figured out our trip to LA was going to take much longer than it normally takes him.

Anyway, Grandpa took the very next exit, which happened to have a Flying J truck stop at it.  He laughed even harder after Mommy and I returned to the car and he heard me ask Mommy if she was proud of me for how long I lasted to wait to go potty.  I don't understand why he thought that was funny.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lunch and a Movie with Uncle Scotty, Helping Auntie Jennifer, and Dinner with the Stollers

After leaving Auntie Betty and Uncle Herald's, we drove all the way around the 101 loop to Uncle Scotty's.  We went out for a yummy lunch at Barro's Pizza with him and then to a movie, "Puss in Boots."  Mommy laughed a lot throughout the movie, noting that Grandma Bunny would have loved it.

After the movie we went back to Uncle Scotty's and picked up Cousin Logan.  Then we all went to Jamba Juice.  (Mommy loves smoothies.)

Next we went back to Auntie Jennifer's.  One of the pairs of pants she'd bought me for Christmas didn't fit right.  Since Mommy and I hadn't had time to go to the store with her, she went to the store and exchanged them for this Hello, Kitty! backpack.  (I decided to wear it for the rest of the day, even while watering Auntie Jennifer's trees.)

This evening we  met everyone at IHOP for dinner. (Mommy had really been looking forward to strawberry blintzes.)  The only problem was IHOP was closed for remodeling.  So there we were, five vehicles filled with Stoller family members and no where to eat.  Chili's was close by, so we all headed over there for some food.  It was great to get to see everyone one last time before Mommy and I leave for California tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Piper the Explorer

Guess what!?  Auntie Betty and Uncle Herald wake up as early as I do.  So Mommy was thrilled that I didn't come in to wake her up so early.  Instead, I played with Auntie Betty.  And do you know what she did?  She made me pancakes AND bacon.  (Since Mommy's not a meat eater, I usually don't get bacon at home.)  Hooray!

Here I am with the singing bunny that kept me company last night.

Here I am with Auntie Betty and Mommy.  We were having a great morning.

Across the street from Auntie Betty and Uncle Herald's home is a lake with lots of ducks.  So we went over with some bread.  That's a surefire way to get the ducks to stop by and visit.  I threw as far as I could.

After all the bread was gone we went for a walk around the neighborhood.  Uncle Herald is really tall.  He lifted me up on to a tree branch, but he was still taller than me!

When we got back to their house, we went in the back yard to pick some lemons and grapefruit.  I learned how to use a fruit picker all by myself, but it was pretty tricky.

Before we left I wanted to play some music for Bunny since she had sung to me so much.  Maybe I have a future playing the clarinet.  I heard Auntie Jennifer played the clarinet, too.

All too soon, it was time to leave.  Mommy was really sad.  I hope we get to visit Uncle Herald and Auntie Betty next time we're in Phoenix!

Dinner with and Overnight at the Schades

What a busy day!  First shopping and crafts with Auntie Jennifer, then lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Stoller, next Uncle Scotty's store, and finally dinner and an overnight at the Schades.  Whew!

We met Auntie Betty and Uncle Herald at Manuel's, a super yummy Mexican restaurant.  We sat by the fireplace, even though it wasn't very cold.  It was really neat to look at the flames.  Also, Auntie Betty showed me how to make "skinny burros" with my refried beans and tortillas.  Yum!

After dinner we went back to the Schade's home.  I went right back to the living room to play with the toys some more.  And guess what?!  Auntie Betty wanted to play, too.  What fun!

There was a really neat bunny that Auntie Betty had in the room I slept in.  It sang, "What a Wonderful World" (one of Mommy and Daddy's favorite songs).  Mommy thinks she only heard the bunny sing once before I fell asleep.

Lunch at the Casino Arizona and Visiting Uncle Scotty

After doing crafts with Auntie Jennifer, Mommy and I went over to Grandma and Grandpa's to pick them up for lunch.  One of their favorite places to eat is at the Casino Arizona.  It took me about 15 minutes to make my way into the building.  There were so many interesting fountains and gardens outside that I wanted to do some exploring first.  Grandma Bunny and I found some ducks, but no fish in the pond.

Grandpa Mitch kept me safe from the prickly cacti.  I was really nervous about getting poked, but soon realized if I stayed close to Grandpa I'd be safe.

The food was really yummy, but Mommy and I didn't like walking through all the smoke to get to the restaurant.  (At least there was no smoking in the restaurant area.)

Uncle Scotty couldn't join us since he was working.  So we stopped by McDonald's and brought him some food after we ate.  While in Uncle Scotty's store, I tried on a few items.  I don't think the hat and belt were too big.  What do you think?

Crafts with Auntie Jennifer

Since I've arrived, Auntie Jennifer had a few projects she wanted to do with me.  Today we FINALLY had some time to go to Michael's (a craft store) to pick up some craft supplies.  Before we left, Auntie Jennifer was admiring my outfit.  Considering she gave me the shirt and fancy jeans, she really liked it.  (The colorful shoes were from Grandma Bunny and the princess tiara was from Auntie Betty.)  I let Auntie Jennifer know if we found a princess tiara for her, she could wear it all day, too.

I didn't know where to start, there were so many neat things to do.  Auntie Jennifer bought a sun visor, glitter paint, foam stickers and a package of Valentine's beads to make some jewelry.  I decided to start with the sun visor.  After all, as pretty as my hat is (from Uncle Scotty), sometimes just a sun visor will do.  We had so much fun!

Thanks, Auntie Jennifer!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Visiting the Schades

We were supposed to visit the Mays today, but "Auntie" Carol was so sick that she couldn't have any visitors.  So we ended up joining "Auntie Betty" and "Uncle Herald" Schade for church.  (Mommy had been best friends with their daughter in high school and even one of her roommates in college.)  I did the best I've ever done in sacrament meeting.  I must say it really helped since Auntie Betty was giving me scratch backs and foot rubs.  I was very quiet for the entire meeting.

After church we went back to the Schades for Sunday dinner.  Before dinner was ready, I discovered some items to play with in their living room.  I had a great time giving the wedding bears a carriage ride.

Before we left for the evening, Auntie Betty gave me some other gifts.  The warm fuzzy hat I'll be able to use when we get back to Ohio.  But Mommy said this mask scared her so much I wouldn't be allowed to wear it, especially around Auntie Jennifer's dogs.

After hearing about how Mommy wasn't sleeping well (mainly due to me flopping around during the night as I slept), Auntie Betty invited (again) us to stay the night.  (She'd offered before we stayed in town, but since they live so far away from everyone else, we'd stayed with Auntie Jennifer instead.)  They have two guest rooms at their home.  When Auntie Betty showed me the room I'd get to sleep in, which had rainbow sheets and LOTS of dolls, I was all about staying with them tomorrow night.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stoller Family Night

Mommy wanted to be able to see her entire family on one day.  She tells me there's one sure way to get all the Stollers in place:  have a lot of good food available.  And guess what?!  It worked!  In addition to my grandparents, uncles, Auntie Jennifer and cousins, "Auntie" Erika (one of Mommy's friends all the way back from her teenaged years) came, too.  Auntie Erika brought some super yummy desserts.  Here I am tasting "S'more cake in a jar".  Can you tell if I liked it or not?

 After eating such a yummy dessert, I was in the mood to give hugs all around.  Auntie Jennifer sure looked like she needed a hug since she was trying to resist eating one of those yummy desserts.

 And I had to give a thank you hug to Auntie Erika for making these yummy desserts!

Auntie Erika took this family photo of the Stoller Clan.  In the back row are Uncles Matthew and Scotty, Auntie Jennifer and Mommy.  Sitting on the couch are Cousin Lexi, Granpa Mitch, Grandma Bunny and me.  Cousins Logan and Jake and kneeling by the sides of the couch.  (And Patsy sneaked into the photo.)

Here I am with Cousin Jake and his fiancee CJay.  They're getting married on Halloween.  I hope this doesn't interfere with my trick or treating.

I know I met everyone back when I turned 2 years old, but I didn't really remember them.  So I'm sure glad I was able to see them all tonight!

Lost and Found at The Phoenix Zoo

I had been very sad when I realized I lost my purple jacket at the zoo yesterday.  So after breakfast this morning, Mommy called the zoo and spoke with their lost and found section.  My purple jacket had been turned in.  Hooray!

We went to the zoo right away.  It was pretty chilly, by Phoenix standards at 60 degrees.  There was a lady in front of the zoo entrance selling neat hats that had scarves/mittens attached to them.  There were so many options, bunnies, pandas, leopards, etc., but I wanted the ladybug hat since it matched my ladbybug Pillow Pet that Daddy gave me for Christmas.  Isn't it a great hat? 

While I still don't understand why people in Phoenix need such warm hats, I know I'll get to wear this a lot when we go back to Ohio.

Breakfast at Auntie Nicole's and Uncle Stan's

Yesterday Auntie Nicole invited Mommy and me over for breakfast so Uncle Stan would get a chance to see me this trip.  I had picked some oranges when I was over at Grandma Bunny's and Grandpa Mitch's the other day.  I gave them to Auntie Nicole yesterday, and she said we could squeeze them this morning.  So I learned how to use a juicer this morning!  Mommy, Auntie Nicole and Uncle Stan couldn't get enough of the orange juice.  And since they have a grapefruit and tangelo tree, we picked some more fruit and made a mixed juice.  They said it was so tasty, but I didn't want to try any myself.

While I was making all the juices, Uncle Stan made some super yummy pancakes.  We all filled our tummies.  It was a great morning!