Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Break, Part 1

It's felt like spring in Southern California since January, but Ava officially celebrated Spring Break this past week.
Her break started by getting out of school early last Friday and taking the (not so) long drive to Long Beach to watch some racing. 
The Grand Prix festivities include lots of other fun stuff like autographs from the Ganassi team drivers including Ryan Briscoe,
A chance to meet Firehawk, the Firestone mascot,
A convention center filled with cars,
And a chance to experience life in a bubble.
Over the weekend, Ava visited Celebrate UCI, the school's annual open house/festival where she met Peter the Anteater.  Zot, zot, zot!
The highlight of Ava's break was a trip to Torrance to spend several days with Grammy and Poppy, who took her all over town for fun and sweets such as Handel's Ice Cream,
Torrance's newest park, 
Backyard baseball, 
Views of the lighthouse and whale watching at Pt. Vicente, 
And playing with and feeding Divot, who just woke up from hibernating all winter. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lucky's Adventures

Ava was picked to be this week's Superstar in her first grade class.  Being the Superstar comes with a number of perks, the biggest of which is taking home the class mascot, Lucky the Lobster.  The Superstar also has to write in Lucky's journal from Lucky's perspective.  So, without further ado, here is Lucky's description of his adventures with Ava:

Ava's mommy picked us up, and Maddisen too.  At the park I climbed the highest mountain ever!  We pretended cookies were chasing us.  We said, "Run for your life!"
We went to the Habit for dinner.  Ooh la la!  I loved the food.  My favorite drink was the strawberry milkshake I shared with the Cruz family.
I was surprised to see other Build-A-Bears like me at Ava's house.  I made new friends with Minty & Lena.  Minty smells like mint!
We woke in the morning and drove to Dodger Stadium.
We saw lots of numbers outside the stadium including Jackie Robinson's number.
On our tour, we saw a lot of trophies even the World Series trophy!
We got to go in the dugout and onto the field.
The tour was cool!
Next we drove to Chinatown.

We ate at Yang Chow and I used chopsticks.  Wontons are my favorite!
We went to a wishing well and I threw in a coin.
Then we went to different shops and Ava bought a pinwheel.  I didn't bring my wallet so I didn't buy anything.  I had a great time in Chinatown!
On Sunday we went to Redondo Beach.  I felt like I was in Huntington Beach!
Ava showed me a fairyland in a front yard.
We walked along the beach and found two pretty shells.  Ava and I went near the water.
Next, we got a snack.  Ava and I shared a bagel.  Yummy!!!
Later on we had dinner at Vince's Spaghetti.  I had garlic bread which I loved!  Then we went home.
At Ava's soccer practice I kicked the ball.  I watched Ava and her friends play.  They can run fast.
Next we went to gymnastics.  I did a push up position on the bar with Ava.  Ava had to hold me on the balance beam.  Whew, it was a busy day.
I had a lot of fun at Ava's house.  I got to sleep with Ava and all her stuffed animals.
We made muffins for breakfast and I got to eat with Ava.
I even got to rollerskate in Ava's backyard with my new skates.  I wish I never had to leave!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring (Training) Is In The Air

Spring brings with it warm weather and baseball.  This, of course, means a road trip to Arizona.  Wanting to be on the safe side, we kept our passports on us the whole time and left our rainbow flags at home.

After just a few hours, we made it to the border where we sprang ahead a couple days early as Arizona doesn't recognize Daylight Savings Time.

As soon as we arrived at our hotel, Ava wanted to go to the pool.  All told, she enjoyed four days of splashing and lounging including countless runs down the floating mats in the pool (aka Wipeout Junior), and many runs down the 165 foot waterslide.
Of course the main point of driving 400 miles (at least for Chris) wasn't just to soak up the sun, but to watch some baseball.  We started off at Maryvale Baseball Park - one of the most quaint ballparks in the Cactus League - to see two teams (the Brewers and Royals) that have no chance of making it to the World Series.  You heard it here first, folks!
What Maryvale does offer is a great, fan friendly experience, Leinenkugel's, and the Famous Racing Sausages.  
In addition to getting signatures from Hot Dog, Polish, Italian, Bratwurst, and (race winner) Chorizo, Ava got autographs from players you've heard of like Rickie Weeks and Alex Gordon, as well as a whole bunch of guys who will never see a Major League dugout.
In between games, we headed to Old Town Scottsdale with its wild west theme, touristy gift shops, and many bars and restaurants.
After baking in the sun for three hours, ice cream from the Sugar Bowl hit the spot.
Ava's favorite game experience was sitting on the lawn and watching the Dodgers (naturally) despite a terrible outing by Josh Beckett.
After a morning session at the pool, we headed to the brand new Cubs Park the next day to see watch a little pre-game training, during which time Ava got a ball from one of the coaches and got even more autographs.
At the game we got an autograph from Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins.  We had to pay for this, but the money (supposedly) goes to Fergie's charity foundation. 
Ava really enjoyed her time in the desert and hopes to come back next year for even more fun in the sun.