January 2009

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For Ethan’s 3rd birthday, we decided to have a small do at his daycare on Friday, the day before his birthday.  After all, all his friends are there and we figured he would have so much more fun that way.

I prepared party favor packs for each of the kids at the daycare, and we chose the (what else?) Mickey Mouse theme.

Inside the party bag, there was a toy spring (Ethan goes “BoinggggkKKK!” when he plays with it), a mini spinning top, a kaleidoscope, an activity sheet and a big sticker for the kids.

I also baked Ethan’s favorite “featherberry muffins” for the party, and we ordered two pizzas too!

Of course we also had some balloons!  Ethan had been asking for “banoons” since early January, and I told him he would get some for his birthday.  And these did not disappoint…. :)

Driving with a dozen helium-filled balloons and a gigantic Mickey Mouse balloon in the back seat of the car was a scary experience, but it was worth the while.

And oh, we certainly didn’t forget the cake!  Here in the US, (surprisingly) it is so hard to find a bakery which does character cakes on the cake itself that was edible.  But we managed to get an adorable Mickey and Minnie cake for Ethan from Safeway.  Although the figurines aren’t edible, we were sure that Ethan would love it, simply because of Mickey and Minnie!

All the kids were excited when they saw the cake, and in order to prevent the cake from being *destroyed*, we decided to do the cake-cutting first.  When we lit the No. 3 candle on the cake, Ethan looked stunned, perhaps a little awestruck?

He looked all of seriousness, and it was as if he was deep in thought.  He still looked so serious when we sang the Happy Birthday song to him, and didn’t even smile when we asked him to….

Still serious when we blowed the candle out….

Still serious when we cut the cake…

…and still deep in thought when we posed for a picture…

Maybe he was just letting it all sink in…..still figuring out how to react to all this “birthday boy” attention he was getting…

And then…he decided to do something!

We all had a fun time at Ethan’s party (pizza was good!), and I am sure Ethan was thoroughly enjoying himself too!

I know for a fact that he was absolutely delighted with the balloons!

And that infectious laugh and happy face never fails to brighten up our day…. at the end of it all, it just makes it all the more worthwhile when he voluntarily exclaimed, “Thank you Daddy!” and “Thank you Mommy!”

Awwwww……..

Scrap Credits
Le petit prince a dit cluster frame from Elodie
Toy Store - Partie3 paper and ribbon from Digital-Crea
Elegant word art (sleep) from Bethany

It all started about 2 weeks or so ago. Ethan contracted high fever, up to 39.5°C. I had to stay home with him to monitor his condition and at times it was pretty scary, because the fever fluctuated up and down throughout the day. We then decided to take him in to Urgent Care, where we could just walk in and not have to make an appointment. But that meant waiting for quite a long while, and after the doctor’s checkup, and we had gotten the prescription filled at the pharmacy, there was the arduous task of force-feeding Ethan the antibiotics. Not a pleasant scene at all, I can assure you.

In addition to his fever, Ethan was also coughing and thus, he was finding it difficult to sleep and rest at night. He would kick and scream and refuse to sleep soundly, resulting in both Daddy and Mommy not sleeping well either.

But thankfully, he is better now. It is always a joy to see him back to his usual cheeky and perky self.

Being at home with Mommy for that extended period resulted in an uphill task in getting him ready for daycare after that. He would grumble and throw a big tantrum and became extremely whiny when we had to leave the house in the morning. And that’s not all…one day after we picked him up from daycare, he decided to make a big fuss about not wanting to leave the car, crying and screaming his lungs out in the car garage. And when we finally got him back home to our apartment, he started crying again. Although we put our foot down and warned him sternly that he was not to repeat it, it hurt our hearts to see him behave that way.

We were quite certain it was Ethan’s natural reaction to finally realising he was going to be a big brother soon, and we figured it was his way of trying to get our attention as much as possible.  And we were at our wits’ end as to how to overcome it.

Then the weekend came…and amazingly, Ethan slept through till way past 9:00a.m. both on Saturday and Sunday! When he awoke, he was cheerful, smiling and had happiness written all over his face. He also had his afternoon nap. And added plus was that he began to have a better appetite for food!

So it looks like Ethan has finally inherited Daddy’s and Mommy’s traits of loving to sleep. Well, a growing mind and body definitely needs more sleep, and it is obvious that sufficient sleep makes for a happy toddler. And certainly, no one is complaining! :)


Scrap Credits
Chinese New Year QP  from Armina Designs
Hearts as One alphas from Snowsmoon’s Designs
Beautiful Rage Floral paper from Scarlet Heels
HoldEmUps from
Tara Dunstan
Polka dotted arrow from
Dúnia
Kit Moka tag from MissVivi

We have been training Ethan to wish “Keong Hee Huat Chye!” since December last year, I think.  We are, after all, Hokkien, so might as well teach him how to say it in Hokkien.  Well, at one point, I *thought* he was attempting to say “Happy New Year”, when I heard him saying, “Happy… you…”, but then when he started adding the clapping, stamping, and shouting “Hooray!” actions, I discovered it was his version of “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” :)

Anyway, Ethan started by repeating just the “huat chye” portion enthusiastically.  He would usually complete what I say…when I say, “Keong Hee”, he would chime in and say “huat chye!”

Then he started saying the whole phrase, and the way he said it was just too cute!

But just a few weeks ago, when we prompted him to say it, he would smile and say, “No..!”  And no matter what we said or did, he won’t say even the “huat chye” part.

Then this morning, I asked him again, and he said, “huat chye!”  Hehe….

Happy New Year and Keong Hee Huat Chye to everyone!

**Updated at 11:11p.m.: When Daddy and Mommy gave Ethan his angpows this evening, he said “Keong Hee Huat Chye!” :)

After almost a week of endless fun, we were ready to head on for home.  We had initially planned on visiting the nearby Carlsbad Factory Outlets before hitting the road, but decided otherwise, given the fact that we had a rather long journey ahead of us.

So after we checked out of the hotel, we headed towards LA.  Ethan fell asleep in the car on the way there, but woke up in time for lunch at In n Out.  After lunch, he refused to go back to sleep and started chattering away till evening.  When we were approaching Gilroy (about an hour from home), he fell asleep again.  It was already pretty dark by then.

We had Vietnamese food for dinner before we drove back to the comfort of our home.

I am, in fact, extremely proud of Ethan for being so well-behaved the entire journey.  We were rather worried about the long haul but he proved that he was able to handle it.  I remember somewhere along the way back, he told us he wanted to “go potty” to “pangsai”, but since we could not immediately find a suitable rest area, he managed to hold it till we reached home!

His sense of direction is rather good too, for he could recognize the route we were on, even though it was dark.  As we were passing by the mountains and hills, he mentioned “horse”, “cows” and “many trees”, which was what he saw 6 days ago.

The memories we shared are like treasures in our heart that will live on forever. The phrase below just about summarizes our most memorable vacation as a family.

Credits
Elegant word art (together have it all) from Bethany
Kit Moment papers from Sueli Colbert
Pacific papers  from Lindsay Jane Designs
Grungy papers from Pillowgirl

 

Check out the waffles we had at the hotel for breakfast!  These were the self-made ones (I’m getting pretty good at this, aren’t I?), and the rest of the breakfast spread was also rather good.  There were fruits, juice, milk, bagels and hot chocolate too!

Thanks to our 2-day park hopper tickets for Legoland and Sealife (which is a recently-opened section just next to the Legoland entrance), we started our adventure on Day 6 by visiting Sealife.

Here’s a picture of Ethan posing with an undersea background, simply because he saw some other kid doing the same. LOL

 

Ethan had a fun time running around the undersea exhibit areas, and even had the chance to touch a real starfish!

 

Here he is poking his head through one of the many viewing windows which was built in such a way so the viewers could view the fishes swimming all around them.

 

After Sealife, we entered Legoland, and continued our exploration, with the rides and viewing all the cool Lego exhibits.

 

The crowd on the second day was unbelievable and most of the rides had at least a 30-minute wait time.  So while waiting for the queue to shorten, we visited areas like Miniland USA, which had breathtaking Lego structures.

 

Some of the exhibits had buttons at the side, which allowed visitors to press them and watch as parts of the exhibits came to life, e.g. some of the figurines would move or light up or something.  And guess who was the one who went around looking for these PUSH ME buttons?

 

We also had fun at Explore Village, where kids and adults alike were all really intrigued with making music with the musical fountain.  Lots of people were reliving their childhood there, I tell ya!

 

See, when someone steps or hops on those yellow circles on the floor, water would shoot out from the corresponding musical instrument in the musical fountain!  Now, who could resist that?! :)

Ethan even had the opportunity to ride on several “thrilling” rides.  For every ride that Daddy took him on, the person manning the ride would ask that Ethan’s height be checked, and since most of the rides had a 36″ minimum height requirement, he managed to get on them, being exactly 36″ himself!

Here’s Ethan smiling happily before Captain Cranky’s Challenge started:

 

And here’s how the ride went… see if you can catch a glimpse of the two boys! :P

Well, one of the food specialties in Legoland not to be missed is the famous Granny’s Apple Fries.  It’s a Legoland original creation, and looks just like the regular fries, except it’s made from Granny Smith apples, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and THEN served with vanilla cream dipping sauce.  Sounds healthy, just cuz it’s made from apples, right? :)

Seriously…not to be missed!

 

Here’s Ethan posing again, because he just wanted to:

 

We could tell Ethan really loves playing with Lego (as do all kids!), and it was incredibly tough to get him to leave Legoland.

 

This is him playing at one of the play areas, refusing to leave, but instead arranging letters on the board (ironically enough) in a straight line.  Hmmm…I wonder who he learnt that from?

 

Well, we all definitely had the time of our lives at Legoland.  And I am also incredibly proud of Ethan because he was not in the least bit afraid even when Daddy took him on a mini roller coaster ride on the Coastersaurus!  Yup, he’s a little thrill-seeker, all right! 

You can’t see Pete and Ethan in the video (they were in the last carriage), but you know, these roller coasters have cameras ready to take pictures of the people riding it?  We checked out those pictures after the ride, and Ethan was literally grinning from ear to ear!

 

Not surprisingly, Ethan did not nap at all that afternoon, and when we reached the hotel after dinner, Ethan had a really quick bath and fell asleep soon after.

Nope, our Christmas vacation ain’t over yet… :P

Remember the comfortable king-sized bed in our Ramada Limited hotel room?  Well, we all overslept because of that!  Still it was a good thing because it was raining in the morning and there was nothing we could do about it. 

Oh yes, we greeted Christmas Day in San Diego with a rainy morning!  And Ethan greeted us with a jolly, “Santa, ho ho ho!”  He learnt that phrase from watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

We got up and went to the hotel lobby for breakfast.  Unfortunately the space was very small and only had 2 small tables.  We had to stand while we ate our breakfast.

 

Ethan had a leetle bit of waffles (I suspect it wasn’t too appetizing to him because it wasn’t the freshly-made kind, but the frozen-and-microwaved kind).  He had more fun pointing out the ribbons and baubles on the Christmas tree in the lobby…never mind that he accidentally spilled cranberry juice on the floor!

 

After breakfast, we quickly packed up and checked out, then drove to SeaWorld to continue our adventure there.  It was a considerably warm day, and absolutely excellent for photo-taking :)

 

We proceeded to view sealife exhibits which we had left out the day before, with Ethan demonstrating that he indeed had a good night’s rest!  Our boy was actively running all over the place!

 

Sometimes it was hard to make him leave a particular place he loved, and we had to use all sorts of tactics to convince him to.  And sometimes,…well…I just whipped out the camera and took random shots. LOL

 

The day before, while we were rushing to see one of the shows in SeaWorld, I caught a glimpse of the pink flamingos, but we didn’t have a chance to stop by till the second day.  Look what a pretty picture they make!

 

For a quarter, visitors could buy some grains (I think) to feed the flamingos and these were dispensed from a nearby machine.  I thought it would be a fun experience for Ethan, so we got some flamingo feed and started throwing the food at the flamingos.

 

Unfortunately, since the flamingos were too far away, and we could not throw that far, the ducks which were nearer to the bridge where we stood, walloped all the food!

We tried to view as many kinds of sealife as possible, including starfish, eels and sharks, but Ethan soon became rather restless and asked for “Elmo!  Elmo!”  Aaahhh…he remembered!

We headed back to the Sesame Street Bay of Play, where Ethan had loads of fun playing on the rides and running through the obstacle course.  And Daddy was with him all the way!

 

We bade a fond farewell to SeaWorld after that, but not before we got a polar bear soft toy as a souvenir for Ethan. :)

He loves it, and sometimes he would ask for his polar bear when he is ready to go to bed.

 

Most of the restaurants were closed for Christmas, but we finally found a nice Thai restaurant nearby, which served really authentic Thai food.  Ethan loved the food, and that was sufficient for me.

 

 

After lunch, our next stop was a good 30 minutes’ drive away up north to Legoland in Carlsbad, CA.  Meanwhile, Ethan had a nice nap in the car (after the SeaWorld adventure and the big lunch). 

 

Don’t ask me how he managed to remove his right shirt sleeve that way, with the seat belts buckled up!

 

When we arrived at Legoland, it was already about 3:00p.m., and although the park was to close at 5:00p.m. that day, we went in anyway.  Good thing we did too, cuz there weren’t many people queueing up for the rides then. 

 

Almost everything was built out of Lego, it was amazing.  Ethan requested for a few photos with some of his favorite characters too.

 

Actually he was the one who spotted Bob the Builder, and when we were done with the picture, he even said, “Buhbye Bob!” :)

 

Ethan definitely LOVES playing with Lego, and if we had left him in the children’s play area for the whole night, I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded!

 

We have no regrets visiting Legoland, albeit for only two hours.  Ethan had the opportunity to ride on several fun rides, and was hopping around happily and grinning from ear to ear after each ride.

 

Our boy is exactly 36″ tall, which was the minimum height allowed for most of the rides, although he had to ride with a chaperone.  He even went on some rides that had a good possibility of him getting wet (he didn’t but, Daddy did), and he was also happy to ride on one that included a speedy, slopy descend!  Pete said Ethan was not afraid at all!

 

He also got into some of the Lego-built toy cars and commanded them to “MOVE!”

 

There was a fireworks display that evening at Legoland, and we watched it before we left.  We also had to promise Ethan we would be back the next day, only then was he willing to leave.

We then checked into our “home” for the next 2 nights: La Quinta Inn (king-sized bed also, yippee!), and headed out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant not too far away.

That night, Ethan fell asleep before 9:00p.m.  Couldn’t really blame him though, cuz the bed was really really comfy :)

It was a really wonderful Christmas Day we had as a family and one we would never ever forget!

Scrap Credits
Template 10 freebie from 
Pure Scrap
Freebie Janvier  - Partie 1 kit from 
Scrapmalin
Yin Paper Pack - Brown Paper Packages from Yin Designs at GDS
Stamp cluster 4 (modified) from 
Lindsay Jane Designs
Endless Love Red Alphas from
Meredith Cardall

We bought some strawberries at Safeway over the weekend, because they looked so juicy and also because they were on sale at 50% off.  As soon as Ethan saw the two boxes in the fridge, he requested for the “straw-de-berries”. :P

So we had them for dessert last Sunday after dinner.  It was the first time I had strawberries and cream, and boy, did they taste yummy!  Ethan was definitely intrigued but he only licked the cream off , although he happily posed for pictures with the strawberries.  Don’t those pictures bring an immediate smile to your face? :)

Scrap Credits
Template 45 from Liz Designs
January Free Mini kit from Enchanted Studio Scraps
Freebie Janvier  - Partie 1 kit from Scrapmalin
Project 365 add-on freebie alphas from Kristen Rice, K Studio

Yesterday, Ethan’s daycare caregiver had to take her daughter for a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I became designated SAHM for the first half of the day.  The night before, I had logged in to complete whatever could be done workwise, so that my workload would be less for the next day, in view of Ethan being around.

As usual, Ethan and I woke up about the same time, and as he watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I made some pancakes for breakfast.  Ethan loves pancakes with maple syrup.

After Pete left for work, I gave Ethan a shower, and got him dressed.  He wanted to play with his Leapfrog fridge magnets, so we spent some time forming three-letter words then.  I am amazed by how much Ethan has learnt and he is able to follow voice instructions and got all the three-letter words correctly.  He is also very patient in finding the letters to form the words.

Ethan wanted to play with his Lego set next, so we opened up the box and began constructing some stuff.  I put on some praise and worship songs for kids while we played.  And sometimes when a particular tune amuses him, Ethan would get up and dance or march.  Thing is, he would INSIST I march along with him.  Not very funny seeing a pregnant momma marching round the coffee table, I’d say! :P

I would also teach him the actions to some of the songs and he naturally would be VERY amused and follow suit.  It’s so cute to see him perform the actions.

We also read some books (his favorites are the Animals and ABC books) and then he wanted to watch the penguins.  So I put on Happy Feet for a while.

Ethan was a good boy throughout the morning, and he really didn’t give me much trouble at all.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…I could really get used to being a SAHM!  The fantastic thing is Ethan was in a really good mood the whole day long too, and I’d like to think it’s because of the extra wonderful quality time I spent with him in the morning. :)

Scrap Credits
Anxiously Awaiting QP from Scraps ‘n Pieces
Dandelion dream alphas from
A work in progress
Winter Spell3 -Partie 2 elements from Scrapmalin
Staple beads from Tracy King

 

Sometimes we do catch Ethan deep in thought, as if he were engaging in a session of soliloquy.  How I wish I could find out what he was thinking.

“I wonder how many of these Lay’s baked potato chips Mommy will allow me to eat.  I’m not giving anyone any…”

“Why do I have to wear this hood over my head?”

“Should I take a nap this afternoon?…Nah…maybe I’ll run around the house.”

“Should I dismantle my train track, and make Daddy fix it back again? I do so love the different tracks he can create.”

“I wonder if Mommy will allow me to eat crackers for dinner, and nothing else.”

“Will Daddy and Mommy take me to the mall afterwards?”

“Should I tell Mommy I want to go potty, just because I want to flush the toilet?  Maybe I should just go potty cos I just want to change my pull-ups.  Hehe.”

“Hmmm….what will it be today?  Would I look better in my car pull-up pants, or the cowboy pull-up pants?  And why does Mommy always ask me to wear that blue minky training pants?”

“..and why are these weird-looking aunties and uncles offering me food?”

We were checking out of the tiny hotel in Anaheim today!  Yay! :P

We got ready for breakfast as usual, and wonder of wonders, Ethan actually willingly ate the waffles I had made!  The hotel breakfast area had three waffle makers, and although I had diligently queued up the past two mornings to make hot waffles, he didn’t want them till today!  Maybe it’s because the waffles I made on the third day looked way more pleasing to the eye.  Anyways, I’m so glad he loved them!

We then checked out at about 10:15a.m. and drove further down south to San Diego.  It took us about an hour and a half to get to SeaWorld, right before lunchtime.  Ethan was very excited about SeaWorld, we could tell, because we’d told him he would get the chance to see whales, dolphins, sharks, fish, sealions and other sea animals.  Of course he repeated the names of these animals to the tee.  Even as we were walking in the parking lot towards the SeaWorld entrance, Ethan was very happy to see seagulls and kept chasing after them, giggling and shouting loudly, “Bird!  Bird!”

 

We noticed SeaWorld had a new section built since Pete’s and my last visit there some years back.  They now had a children’s play area called Sesame Street Bay of Play, and guess what Ethan said as soon as he saw it?

“Elmo! Elmo!”

So we stopped by for a spell, and Ethan enjoyed running around for a bit, and he even rode the Elmo’s Flying Fish ride with Pete!  Little did we know that this was going to be one of many rides he was gonna take!

 

We had to hurry on to catch some shows in the other areas in SeaWorld, but we promised Ethan we would be back to see Elmo the next day (we bought the 2-day park tickets, see?).

So before lunch we managed to catch two shows:

  • a 4-D Sesame Street presentation (where we had to wear those special glasses).  I was afraid Ethan would not be used to it, but he was all right, and during some parts of the show, he reached out his hands to *grab* the things he saw too!
  • “Believe” at Shamu Stadium - This was the famous killer whale show that everyone would not want to miss.  We are so glad to share it with Ethan and he really had a good time.  Oh yeah, he learnt to say “Shamu” too! :)

 

We had lunch at one of the restaurants in SeaWorld, Shipwreck Reef Café, and I was pleased to see Ethan having a very healthy appetite that day.  He had hot dog (just the sausage, which he walloped in record time), fries (but of course!), chocolate milk and crackers.

 

There was a nearby pond too, and after lunch, Ethan was happy just to look at and interact with the ducks swimming in the pond.

 

We caught a few more other shows after that, including of course the Dolphin Discovery show.

 

We also watched Clyde and Seamore’s Risky Rescue, which showcased a sealion, an otter and a walrus.  That was pretty entertaining.  Other than sea animals, there was also a Pets Rule!  show which had dogs and cats and pigs.  Because it was the Christmas season, there were also a couple of shows themed especially for Christmas, namely Clyde and Seamore’s Night Before Christmas and Shamu’s Holiday Night.  We watched both, though it practically rained throughout the Clyde and Seamore Christmas show.  We had to take shelter viewing some indoor exhibits after that while waiting for the rain to stop.  ‘Twas a good reason anyway for Ethan to see his “polar bears” and “penguins”. :)

 

 

Thank goodness the rain stopped, because Shamu’s Holiday Night was really an unforgettable experience.  The sight of whales swimming gracefully to the strains of Christmas music beautifully played live on the saxophone and accompanied by a choir of magnificent singers was enough to wow us all. 

Ethan was also taken in by all the magic and music and he began dancing around and clapping to the music, but when Silent Night was played, our boy eventually fell asleep! LOL

We called it a day after that spectacular show and drove to a nearby Chinese eatery to tarpow dinner back to our hotel.  We checked into Ramada Limited and we loved our room at first glance: there was a king-sized bed in it!  Ethan fell asleep at around 9p.m. to recharge for the next day.

 
Scrap Credits
Fall Memories kit from A work in progress
Laugh Alphas from Cathy K Designs
HoldEmUps from Tara Dunstan
Love Word Art  from Jamie Lee Designs

Weight

Should be about 12.5kilos.

Height

36 inches.

Teeth

Loves to brush his teeth on his own, even carrying his step stool to the sink, asking for his toothbrush and toothpaste and imitating his Daddy brushing his teeth.  I have a feeling he swallows a little bit of the toothpaste though, but I am still using the fluoride-free toothpaste on him, so that’s perfectly fine.  Ethan allows me to brush his teeth for him too, when he is in the mood.  Of course, I am always happy to do so.

And oh yes, his teeth-brushing sessions always end with a good gurgling and spitting session. :)

Developmental Milestones

  • Becoming more confident in the way he speaks, and can make short sentences like, “Look at that!”, “I wanna go outside!”, or “I don’t want it!” and my favorite: “Daddy, wake up!”
  • Knows how to work his charm using magic words like “pees” (please) and “thank you”.  When I give him a Ritz Bits cracker, he will say ever so sweetly, “Thank you Mommy!” - melts my heart every time he does that.
  • Loves to hop and jump around.  I guess it is just him practising and perfecting his skills.  In addition to jumping and hopping on level surfaces, he sometimes also jumps from a slightly higher level (like the bottom step of a flight of steps).
  • He uses the term “Go Potty” when he wants to have a bowel movement.  Sometimes if he peepees in the potty, and we applaud him for doingso, he will say, “I pee pee in the potty!”
  • Knows how to put away his toys.  I especially am pleased to see him detach his Lego pieces and put them away nicely in the box.  He’ll go “put it away”, and does the deed.
  • Loves to share his toys, his food, his milk etc with one and sundry, … well especially his soft toys.  It’s so cute the way he goes, “Here, Mickey..”, and “Here, bear…” and then “Here, Daddy…”, and “Here, Mommy”, while he gives out the item he is sharing.
  • Ethan is a very sensitive and affectionate boy, and is always asking for a HUG.  And he is very PASSIONATE about things.  Even when he is watching TV… he gets very engrossed when something bad is about to happen to Dora, for example, and says, “No, no, noooo!!!!” almost in a pleading tone.
  • Has started to say numbers like “Twenty-ONE!”, “Twenty-TWO!”, etc…
  • Wants to go swimming in the “swimming pool”, but we told him we would only take him when the weather is warmer.  It’s enticing to him because he sees the pool every time he steps out of our apartment.
  • Becoming more sociable and he actually looks forward to meeting all his friends at daycare every day.  He knows all their names and sometimes during holidays or weekends, he would mention their names too.  And now, who wouldn’t smile when they see Ethan saying “Hi!” while waving, or “Hello Daddy!” first thing in the morning? :)
  • Can tell us where we *should* go or where he *wants to go*, by saying, “This way!” and pointing to a particular direction.
  • Demanding to be more independent and his favorite phrase now is, “I’ll do it!”  He wants to buckle up on his own, climb into the car seat on his own, take off his shoes on his own, etc.

Food and Feeding

Lately Ethan has started eating more, we noticed.  He has been asking for “more milk”, “more rice” and (yippee) “more chicken”.  His favorite food of course is still rice and he absolutely loves rice with “saw-soyce” (soy sauce).

I absolutely love the way he pronounces “milk”.  He used to say “nenno” but not any more.  Now it’s “merlk”…you know, the VERY precise pronunciation.

On Day 3 of our vacation, woohoo….a bright sunshiny day greeted us in the morning!  We got ready right away and had breakfast at the hotel.  Initially we wanted to walk to Disneyland, because our primary reason for booking that hotel was its close proximity to Disneyland.  But in the end we decided against walking because although we definitely had the energy to walk in the morning, the walk back to the hotel at night could be tiring as Ethan might want us to carry him all the way, … or it might rain at night…

So we drove again, paying the $12 for parking, which I must say is $12 well spent!

As soon as we had parked the car (there were more cars today - must be the good weather), and alighted, Ethan ran happily towards the pickup point for the tram to Disneyland, shouting “castle”, “Mickey” and “Goofy” all the way.  But since there were more people today, we had to wait a bit for the tram to arrive.

We headed straight for California Adventure Park, and coincidentally saw that Pluto was having a “meet the fans” session, so Ethan had a picture taken with Pluto, all on his own.

We then decided to rent a stroller for the day (cost us $12), because for some reason, Ethan appeared to be more clingy.  It certainly appeared as if he was *conserving energy* for the day ahead, having experienced the previous day which was filled with so many activities.  He would walk a bit and ask us to carry him around.  At times, he would only want “Mommy carry!”

We managed to catch a few shows in California Adventure Park, including Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage, and then we moved on to “a bug’s land”.  There were a few kiddie rides there which we could enjoy, in fact, Ethan also enjoyed the queue in line, I’m sure!

Here we are taking the ride in Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, where I had to ride in the carriage in front and snap pictures.

We also soared through the air in *flying boxes* known as Flik’s Flyers and guess what…Ethan wasn’t in the least bit afraid.  On the contrary, he was smiling all the way!  Well, he ain’t afraid of heights and he also ain’t afraid of getting dizzy, cuz when we rode in the spinning ladybirds in Francis’ Ladybug Boogie, Ethan was thoroughly enjoying himself!  I think the adults were the ones who got dizzy!

Next, Ethan wanted to take a ride in the bumper cars, Tuck and Roll’s Drive’Em Buggies.  Our boy was exactly 36″ tall, so he met the minimum height requirement, but he would also need a chaperone to ride with him.  Since pregnant mommas were not allowed on this, Pete took Ethan, and that went really well.  Look at how much those two enjoyed themselves!

The bumper car ride was really a breakthrough for Ethan because it proved that he did not need both Mommy and Daddy to be with him on the ride.  We are so proud of him!

On the way out from “a bug’s land”, we stopped by Princess Dot Puddle Park, where Ethan had a field day splashing around a gigantic faucet.  Actually it’s like a water fountain maze, and believe you me, it was really tough coaxing him to leave that place!

Wanna see how it is done?  Check out the video…

California Adventure Park has a lot of rides for bigger kids and adults, and I remember having the time of my life on the California Screamin’ roller coaster and the Maliboomer (vertical launcher), but since (obviously) I can’t do any of that right now, and neither can Ethan, we just took a nice walk round Paradise Pier and checked out the sights.

Yep, our boy decided it was not really fun to spend the day in the stroller, and preferred to be riding the “Daddy horse”.  We made use of the stroller to cart Ethan’s bag instead.  Hah.

We also stopped by the “Brother Bear” area where we had wanted to watch “The Magic of Brother Bear” Totem Ceremony, but little did we know that the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail was situated at that same area.  So no….we didn’t find the ceremony we wanted to watch, but instead Ethan had fun on the rock slides, the rope bridges, the hollow logs … you get the idea…. of course, Daddy was the designated person to follow him all around!

Here’s a photo of Ethan with the Brother Bear figure right outside the Challenge Trail.  Yeah, he asked for a photo… and he wanted to *touch* the bear paw.

At this point, Ethan was already getting restless and kept asking over and over again for “castle” and “Mickey!”, so we hopped over to Disneyland Park.  On the way to the park, we decided to snap a few photos with the giant CALIFORNIA alphabets outside California Adventure Park.  It wasn’t dark yet, so we could get quite good pictures.  And also the letters had been festively decorated in the Christmas mood, with Christmas colors.

Ethan immediately ran towards the letter O, for what reason, I do not know… then he noticed that A had a Goofy figurine on it, so he went, “Goofy!  Goofy!”, pointed and ran towards A.  There was a short queue of people waiting to take photos, so we had to wait.  And then….Ethan suddenly noticed C had Mickey… so he ran to the other end to have a picture taken with Mickey too.

Trust me when I tell you we have countless photos of those alphabets in our memory card :P

Well Disneyland was immensely crowded that day, and we hardly wanted to get in line for any of those rides.  It was a good thing we rode on It’s a Small World twice the day before, because the queue now was unbelievable!  We stopped by Toontown for a bit, but left after a while because it got so crowded!

Then we walked back to California Adventure Park for the Pixar Play Parade, which was really very interesting and wonderful to watch.  In the middle of it, I turned to check on Ethan’s response on one of the floats, and realized that he had fallen asleep!  He had literally drifted off to dreamland in Daddy’s arms!

So after the parade, we carried Ethan into the stroller and walked back out to Downtown Disney to that same souvenir shop for some souvenir shopping.  It was much easier to shop when Ethan’s asleep anyway.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to bring the stroller out, so we had to park it somewhere first and strong Daddy had to carry Ethan. :P

He slept for quite a bit and when he woke up, he seemed to have renewed energy.  We bought a few souvenir items, namely 2 snug-fitting pajamas for Ethan and some squeezey toys, just because they were Mickey Mouse related!  Hehe…

 

By the way, you see those toys in the round plastic packaging?  Those are Ethan’s latest bath toys now…

Well, anyway, after the souvenir shopping, we walked back to California Adventure Park for a superb clam chowder dinner, which Ethan really enjoyed!

We had one more parade to watch and that was the Disney’s Electrical Parade, which saw Ethan clapping and waving his hands happily.

Then our final stop for the day was back at Disneyland to witness the awe-inspiring “Believe…In Holiday Magic” Fireworks.  The crowd was HUGE, and Ethan sat atop Pete’s shoulders watching intently, going “Wow!” as the spectacular display unfolded before his eyes.

It was definitely another tiring day for our boy and once again he fell asleep right away after his sponge bath and warm milk when we reached the hotel.

Naturally we were all very excited when we woke up the next morning after the long journey from San Jose.  After all, we were headed for the happiest place on earth! :)

We had purchased 2-day park hopper tickets which allowed us 2-day unlimited access to both Disneyland and California Adventure Park.  It was Pete’s and my second visit there, and we were very anxious to share the *happiness* with our boy.  We did not need to pay for Ethan’s admission ticket though, because kids under 3 can enjoy free admission!

But this is what greeted us when we were about to go out of the room:

We had already kinda expected it as the weather forecast for the day showed that it would be pouring that day.  SIGH.

Ethan had some boxed apple juice in our room before we went for breakfast.  I could tell he was getting hungry, and somehow he discovered how to open the fridge on his own.

So we had breakfast at the hotel, and after that, since it was still raining heavily, we decided that we would drive to Disneyland instead of our original plan of walking there.  Despite our hotel being about 15 minutes’ walking distance to Disneyland, we decided not to get drenched in the rain, and besides it was definitely getting heavier.  The parking fee was $12, but thankfully it was a sheltered parking lot.

Ethan was very excited as soon as we parked the car, and kept saying, “Mickey” or “Mickey Mouse”.  Coincidentally, we parked at the Mickey Mouse level.

We then took a tram to Downtown Disney, and visited one of the biggest souvenir shops there.   We had to buy rain ponchos for ourselves because it was still pouring when we arrived.  Too bad there weren’t any ponchos in Ethan’s size, so he had to make do with his hooded jacket.  We did manage to get a few quick shots of Ethan wearing that ever-popular Mickey Mouse hat though, but it looked like he was too eager to enter the park!

Since it was still drizzling, we could only enjoy the rides that were somewhat sheltered, and the first one we saw was the Disneyland railroad train at Main Street!

And running and skipping as fast as he could to board the train was Ethan, all the while screaming, “choo choo train!”  He would also get impatient when the train stopped at certain stations to pick up passengers and took a long time to get going.

The rain certainly did not dampen our spirits, and when we finished a complete ride round Disneyland, we spotted Mickey and some of his friends entering a nearby building.  So we rushed into the building, and I tell you, I will never forget that priceless look of admiration and joy on Ethan’s face as he met Mickey, Minnie and Pluto.  He was really star-struck!  So much so that I think he really could not believe he was seeing the onscreen characters he loves in real life!  Look at some of the pictures, it’s as if he was checking to see if they were real!

We then continued our adventure round Disneyland, snapping photos whenever we could, and trying to do as many things as possible in spite of the rain.  As you can see, it was not easy getting our boy to pose for photos because he became easily distracted by all the sights and sounds around him!

See how wet Ethan’s pants got after a while of hopping around in the puddles? :P

The crowds weren’t that humunguous and the queues for the rides weren’t that long, probably because of the rain, and we managed to squeeze in a few rides before lunchtime.  From past experience with Ethan, we purposely went for rides where the three of us could go on, and that included the Storybook Land canal boat ride and the ever-popular It’s a Small World.  Although Pete and I were apprehensive that the It’s a Small World ride would result in the song sticking to our heads for days to come (it did the last time we went on it!), we knew it was going to be an enjoyable experience for Ethan.  Here’s Daddy and Ethan all ready for the ride…

We were actually very happy with the It’s a Small World ride.  Because it was the Christmas season, the music they played was a mixture of Christmas carols interspersed with It’s a Small World, and so the experience was truly truly amazing.  Throw in all the colors and wonderful sights and you have a very happy toddler (and Mommy and Daddy too)!

Lunch was, of course, burgers and chips….well, cuz most of the restaurants in Disneyland serve that.  Ethan thoroughly enjoyed his chips, but still would not take our burgers…A rather funny incident happened though.  Ethan was drinking water from a plastic cup, and when he was done, he began playing with the cup, and suddenly he tore it!  Instinctively, I said, “Oh no!  You tore the cup?! Quick, say sorry to the cup, Ethan!” and he went, “Sorry, cup…” :P

The rain stopped around lunch time, so after we had eaten, we were able to roam around without our rain ponchos.  Took a few other train rides (yep, there are several here in Disney), and even had the chance to do a boat ride!

Here are two precious shots of Ethan enjoying a casual male-bonding moment with Daddy.  My hands had nothing else better to do while we were waiting in line for one of the rides…. heh.

We headed for Mickey’s Toontown next, and I remembered it being one of the most colorful places in Disney.

And as soon as Ethan caught sight of the slide in Goofy’s playhouse, he ran towards it and had the time of his life!  Ah, the simple pleasures that makes a boy happy huh?

Some of the Disney characters were available for photo sessions too, and Ethan managed to get one with Goofy.  After queuing up for a bit, I tested Ethan to see if he would go take a photo with Goofy on his own, and he did! :)

Well, he looks a little confused there, but still, it’s a priceless photo!

Here’s one of Ethan and Pete in one of the Toontown buses.  Ethan loves climbing up to the driver’s seat, rotating the wheel, and shouting, “Move!”

It was certainly difficult to pry Ethan away from Toontown, but we managed, somehow.  And after all that excitement, Ethan finally fell asleep, all tired out, on Pete’s shoulders, at about 3:30p.m.  So Pete and I took the opportunity to sit down at a nearby cafe and had clam chowder instead.

Ethan woke up shortly after that, and we headed for the “castle”, since he demanded for it.  He really really loves the castle, I can tell, cuz even today, he still remembers the “castle”.  Sleeping Beauty’s Castle really is a breathtaking view, especially during Christmastime.

Oh yeah, we also managed to enjoy It’s a Small World for the second time that night.  And the night decorations make the place look so much like fairyland.  Plus, on the way there, there was a *snow* experience for us too, as soap bubbles were released making it look and feel like snow.  It was magical…

Before we called it a day, we witnessed the special “A Christmas Fantasy” parade.  Ethan was very happy when he caught a glimpse of Mickey and his friends, Buzz Lightyear and Woody (whom he refers to as the “cowboy”).

It was a long, tiring but very fulfilling day for all of us, and after Ethan had his warm nightly bath, we could tell he was exhausted because he “asked” me to sleep with him.  Normally he would play around first and then sleep a little bit later, but immediately after he had his milk, he wanted to sleep.  He even hugged his Mickey Mouse soft toy to sleep, but not before looking at Mickey with a look of wonderment, not really believing that he had met Mickey in the flesh.

 

January 2009
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