Friday, April 29, 2011

Nona and Papa's House and, oh yeah, Disneyland

We were so lucky and took a trip, just our little clan, to California  to visit Ryan's grandparents and Disneyland.  I can tell which experience meant more to Kate, as whenever she is asked about her trip she says, "I visited Nona and Papa!"  When prompted, she of course loves to remember Disney, but I really think she loved Nona and Papa's home more.  Good to know.  But for a little girl in the height of all things Princess, Disney was pretty great timing.    

Ryan was so great to plan most of the trip and make sure everything went fairly smoothly.  Our flights were great, our hotel was amazing.  Nona and Papa were so accommodating to a young, rambunctious family.  We felt so blessed to stay with them and get to know them better.   Ryan even got to stand in at Nona's tennis group because one of the ladies was missing.  So he played doubles with three other ladies who were all 70+, that was fun to watch!   
Nona and Papa's backyard, complete with sunshine.  This was the afternoon we arrived in California, and those rays felt just fine.

 Nona and Papa live in Westlake Village, right by Thousand Oaks, CA.  Their home sits on a man-made lake and almost every home has  a little party boat docked out front for pleasure rides around the lake. This was a great activity for our family, Kate and Rob even got to drive!  The surroundings are beautiful there!

 Robby loved Nona.  He pronounced her name Nana.  Robby also wanted Papa to go everywhere with us.  He always asked for and looked for Papa. 

 This is Nona's favorite Oak tree in their neighborhood.  It's gigantic and gorgeous.  

 The "girls" walking.  Nona, aka Evelyn Muller, was born in 1925 but you would never guess it.  She swims and plays tennis every week (and looks better in her tennis skirt than most 25 year olds) and can actually keep up with Kate, enough said.

Paradise Cove in Malibu.  Simply beautiful! We had trouble calling it a beach, as our Oregonian definition always includes winter clothing and not a spot of sun. 

I wish I had better pictures of Disney, we were on the go so much it was tough to get good shots!  But we had a blast.  

We arrived at 8:15 am, and left at 9:15 pm.  Everyone was asleep before we left, and that almost includes Ryan and I.  

We ate in New Orleans, had gumbo, jambalaya, mint juleps and beignets.  We saw a parade, went to the Tiki Room, Jungle Safari, and a million other things.  My favorite ride was Peter Pan.  Robby's favorite was Autopia, except he was just barely too small so he got to watch his favorite ride.  Kate's was probably the teacups because she got to steer! Ryan's was the chair he got to sit in with the kids while they napped in the afternoon and I explored on my own.  I haven't been to Disneyland since I was three, so this was basically my first run, and I loved it!  

The Dumbo ride is one of two memories I have of my first time as Disneyland.  Robby loved it and loved pushing the lever up and down!  I got in trouble this time for using my camera on the ride, oops.  
Our little princess at the castle.  
Ryan was in is eight-year-old idea of heaven when we watched a Jedi-training camp for 4-12 year olds which included dueling Darth Vader and that other red-faced guy (my apologies to Ryan for my Star Wars ignorance).  
All of Kates wildest dreams came true when she met and mingled with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.  Kate said she looked very beautiful.  She had planned to say, to Rapunzel, that she was glad she escaped from Mother Gothel, but the intensity of the moment overcame her and she forgot.  Still, it was one amazing experience for a little girl who begs to play "Rapunzel" every waking moment.  


You can see Robby's favorite guy, besides Daddy, in the background, Buzz Lightyear.

WE didn't start the fire .... it was just me

There are some moments that are so horrifying and outcomes so indefinite it only seems appropriate that they be perceived to be occurring in slow motion, because you couldn't possibly take it in at real time speed.  Car wrecks, kids falling off the play structures, and of course, fires in your kitchen. When I (with baby on hip) discovered smoke billowing out into the living room and saw the three-foot flame licking the hood above the stove, it all felt horrendously slow, the moment couldn't be over quickly enough.

I hesitate to share this experience because it was very scary and happened to be all my fault, very embarrassing,  and in a house that I don't own.  I feel I can share because all is out in the open with the owners and I can quite happily say most of the damages are totally repaired to their original state or better thanks to a very kind and supportive husband who never once made me feel any worse about my mistake.

A quick summary, I put oil in the pan to fry up tortillas for migas (maybe not relevant for a quick summary, but food's always important even if not relevant.  Have you every tried migas?  Yum.  But not worth lighting your kitchen on fire.)  I turned on the stove.  At the moment I turned the knob, Robby woke up crying in his bedroom.  The fact that I had turned on the stove didn't register in my brain as I was then thinking about Robby, so I went back to calm him and I was having a great time playing with him in his room when I suddenly heard our fire alarm and I knew immediately I was in trouble.  Unattended heating oil ignited into an opulent 3-foot flame in my kitchen. As soon as I saw the flame I doubled back and put robby in his crib, shut the door and then proceeded to handle that fire while Robby returned to crying.  I put on a oven mitt, picked up the skillet and took it outside. At this point I imagine my neighbors were quite concerned at the sight of me wielding a burning skillet.  But then, miraculously, the flame surrendered to my fire extinguishing prowess and went out.  All I did was walk outside and it retired.

As I returned to the kitchen and assessed the damage, I was overcome.  The cupboards surrounding the stove were black as night, the ceiling was the same.  The hood was almost unrecognizable and the control panel for the oven totally warped.  After scrubbing off most of the soot from the cupboard fronts, back splash/tile area, and counters, it wasn't nearly as dismal a situation as I originally thought.

We learned oodles about home repair through this process.  We got to:

1. Repaint ceilings/walls in the kitchen and entry way.
2. Remove the old hood and install a new one
3. Remove the old stove and oven, install a new one
4.  Clean alot!

Here are some before, during, and after shots



NO "after" shot on this one, as when I went take one, my camera broke.  I didn't light it on fire, it just broke.  You'll just have to trust that it looks way better.