Monday, June 1, 2015

Everything Is Awesome

After a very long wait, Ava was finally able to take her dream trip to the Legoland Hotel. Upon arriving to our pirate-themed room, she said that she wished she could live there.  
The Pirate Captain was everywhere in both mascot/character form as well as in Lego form.
Each room had a locked treasure chest that could only be opened by exploring the hotel and answering the questions.  Hannukah came early at the hotel as Ava got all the answers correct and was rewarded with Minifigures and chocolate coins .
The main lobby had a Lego castle and pirate ship, as well as plenty of Legos to play with.
Even the pool was Lego-themed (and heated), and Ava built her own raft.
Spending two days at Legoland allowed us plenty of time to enjoy some of our old favorites...
And to try new rides!
With the opening of Heartlake City, we got to explore the world of the Lego Friends.
For the first time Ava played at the LegolandWater Parks where she enjoyed water slides and the lazy river.
At the adjacent Chima Water Park, there were more slides and even a wave pool.  
We'll certainly be back as Ava like Legoland better than Disneyland.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Breaking the Ice

Ava's fall soccer team returned this spring with a new name and a winning attitude.  The Icebreakers scored plenty of goals and played solid defense on their way to second place in the regular season.
After a lot of hard work, the team went on to win their end of season tournament.  Ava celebrated with her team and family, and even had a chance to watch some of her friends play and support their team.
After the season, Ava collected her winner's medal at the Icebreakers' end of season party.
Ava's Girl Scout adventures have continued with International Day where her Brownie troop represented Vietnam.
Her troop has earned badges for water conservation and dancing, and an unofficial badge from the Angels and a chance to parade the field before a game.
Of course it wouldn't be baseball season without a trip to Dodger Stadium. 
Ava has even supported UCLA's baseball team when the Bruins were in town to face the UCI Anteaters.

Learning continues to be loads of fun in Miss R's second grade class.
Ava added a new member to our family when she adopted "Strawberry" at Build-A-Bear in Anaheim. 
She enjoys relaxing at home with her go-to board game, Match Attax.  
We recently visited Carlsbad where we enjoyed the beach, gelato, and a visit with baby Violet. 
More to come from Carlsbad in Ava's next update... 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

UK, Day 12: Last Day in Wales and Heading Home

On our last day in Wales we visited yet another castle.  Although not as old as some of the other castles we saw, Caerphilly, built in the 13th century is Britain's second largest castle and certainly the most imposing castle on our trip, covering 30 acres and having a double moat.  
We were allowed to go all over the castle, exploring dark tunnels, high towers, and defences.  No one got lost and the kids successfully completed the children's trail and earned a magnet.
We then took the short drive to Cardiff, the capital of and largest city in Wales.  TV fans will also know it as the home of BBC Wales and filming locations for Dr. Who.
We strolled around Cardiff Bay seeing the Wales Millennium Center, the Senedd (home of the Welsh National Assembly), the Pierhead Building, and the Norwegian Church.
We had our last pub lunch at Eli Jenkins where the service was terrible but the prices were amazingly low, and stopped by the Mr. Whippy truck for an ice cream treat.
Walking around Mermaid Quay, we enjoyed live music from the Quaynote Competition, and scrumptious, freshly made Welshcakes from Fabulous Welshcakes (imagine the offspring of a pancake and a scone with a hint of spice).
Saying goodbye to our friends we made the long drive to our hotel near Heathrow.  One side of it looked like a castle while the other looked like an office building.  The accommodations were fine, but not exactly castle-like, and we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere opting for dinner at a rundown takeaway fish and chips shop.
Waking up early on our last morning, we headed to Heathrow's Terminal 5 where we enjoyed breakfast at Wagamama (who knew they even served breakfast?).
We also grabbed as many sweets as possible from the duty free store including Ava's favorite, Kinder Eggs, which have been illegal in the US for many years. 
Flying in World Traveler class (aka coach, but with a posh name) in the upper deck of a BA A380, Ava had a shelf and storage bin next to her for the flight home.  She also had a personal video screen and got to watch tons of movies including the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie based on her current favorite book series.
We made it home safely and Ava is back into the swing of things at school and with her after-school activities.  Ava had a wonderful, albeit exhausting, vacation and is looking forward to a future trip back to the UK.