Tuesday, February 22, 2011



Nile has logged a lot of miles, domestic and international, in her first 10 mos. of life:

Phoenix to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires to D.C.
D.C. to Phoenix
Phoenix to Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City to Phoenix
Phoenix to D.C.


D.C. to Gaborone, Botswana!

Let's hope she's as good on the loooooong haul as she's been on all her other flights.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Disneyland Silhouette

Sorry, we're not done with Disneyland yet ... ;)

Bri reminded me of the BEST investment I made at Disneyland -- a handmade silhouette of Nile.

Readers: please, please promise me that the next time you go to Disneyland you will get your or a loved one's silhouette done.

It is really cheap and quick; I think it was like $7 or $10 or something and it took 90 seconds, tops. And you actually get two silhouettes for the price of one -- the lady who does it holds two pieces of paper together and cuts, so you get two silhouettes facing opposite directions, in case you want one facing the "other" way.

They offer you a frame for a little extra cost, so it ended up being $19 total. And now I have the most adorable, personalized souvenir. Plus it is just fascinating watching this lady work, she is truly amazing.

SHE CUTS THESE FREEHAND, PEOPLE! And she's been doing this at Disney for 20 years. She had me sit down perpendicular to her, holding Nile. On the wall a couple feet in front of us was a bunch of Disney and Mickey stickers for Nile to look at so she could see her profile. The lady is really personable, gentle and sweet. I thought she was going to take a picture or trace Nile's shadow on the wall or something, but that's when I realized that as we were talking, she was CUTTING! She has these tiny little scissors, and bits of paper were flying everywhere. Then she was done! Like I said, 90 seconds, tops. It was incredible. Worth just watching, if anything. She apparently usually has a long line, but no one was there when we went by, and that's why we decided to do it. She can also do multiple people at once, like mother and child, so I kind of wished I would have done that, too!

At any rate, I wouldn't say it looks EXACTLY like Nile, but it does look like a baby, and she even included tiny, fine wisps of hair on top of the cutout's head and a little ducktail in the back, so I thought she captured Nile pretty well. She just missed Nile's trademark turtle beak ;)



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Leaving Disneyland

January 11, 2011

The morning we left. It was such a great trip!

DSCN2504 - Version 2
Most of the gang: Neil's sisters Lisa and Becky, their husbands Austin and Artie, their kids Lillian, Dallan and Gavin, Grandma and Grandpa. Baby Camryn stayed home, and Neil's twin brother's family, as well as his youngest brother and sister, had already left.


We stayed at the Candy Cane Inn. I HIGHLY recommend it. It is very cute, super clean and well-appointed (large rooms, refrigerators and table with chairs in every room) and is RIGHT next door to Disneyland and California Adventure. That's the back of the park pictured beyond the hotel. It was only a 15 min. walk to the entrance, though they provide a free shuttle throughout the day.


Cousins Gavin and Lillian.



Cousin Dallan. Not everyone sees it, but he is the one I think Nile looks most like. As soon as she was born, the first thing I said when I saw her was "She looks like Dallan!"


My Disney Princess.


Lillian helping feed baby Nile on the ride home.



January 8-11, 2011


We had such a good time at Disneyland! It was Nile and my first trip! Everything they say about Disneyland is true, it really is a magical place!

I loved it and I find myself thinking about it from time to time, with very fond memories. I am definitely going back on our return trip to the States in two years when Nile will be three years old and more able to enjoy it.

The whole park is completely over the top, as only Disney can do. I was continually and constantly impressed by how clean the place is and how nice all of the employees are. All of the shops are so cute, I love them. I just wanted to look at and buy stuff all day! I didn't though, don't worry. The rides were not even my priority, but it was so fun when we did go on them.

Neil's dad rented a wheelchair because of his bum knee. Read: $70 wheelchair rental = automatic bump to the front of the line for wheelchair person plus six guests = boo yah!

A photo log of our days and nights at the Happiest Place on Earth:

Nile and me on our way in, sporting our "First Visit!" pins.

Nile, Grandma and Grandpa, and four of her seven cousins from that side of the family.


The Cinderella castle!!!! The nightly fireworks show is truly out of this world. Totally big-budget as only Disney can do.


Chip! Or Dale?

Neil is still a kid at heart. He really wanted to go to the "Jedi Training" event, so we did. Turns out it's for little kids, but you could tell he wanted to join.


Neil with our Mickey balloon-in-a-balloon. I loved this thing, it lights up like this:


Dallan was just shy of being tall enough for the Thunder Mountain ride, but he may or may not have gone on it anyway ... twice.


 The Wonderful World of Color!


The old-fashioned roller coaster and ferris wheel at California Adventure.


Nile in front of the Cinderella Castle.

OK, so I was a little bit obsessed with the Cinderella Castle!

Second-cousins Jared and Taylor, cousin Gavin and Uncle Chris.

Princess Jasmine and Aladdin!!!!


"Here You Leave Today and Enter The World Of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy"

I really liked this gallery that had all kinds of old illustrations, photos and memorabilia from Disney's history.

"The actual park bench from the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round in Los Angeles, where Walt Disney first dreamed of Disneyland."

Conjures up images in my mind of a penniless and down on his luck Walt Disney, napping on a park bench where he literally DREAMED of Disneyland.

If you know that red wagon and sign, you'll know it means CORN DOGS!!! I think my total over the 3 days in the park was 4 corn dogs. So delicious! But not as yummy as a thumb, Nile will contend.

Our first attempt at Space Mountain. I was so psyched! And then, just as our car was about to start, they shut the ride down :/ A little disconcerting, but we went the next night and it was awesome!

My houndstooth classic Mickey doll! He is so cute!!!!

Back at California Adventure. For those of you who haven't been to Disneyland (or am I the only adult who'd never been there?) CA (funny, I was abbreviating the name of the park and I just realized it's also the postal abbreviation for the state. Coincidence?? Doubtful.) is connected to Disneyland and has a sort of all-encompassing California theme -- Hollywood/bay area/wine country/etc.

Cotton candy!!!!! I loved the food on this trip.

A little cut off, but "Greetings from California!"


Saturday, February 19, 2011

So Long, Farewell!

Wow, I think this is the most "real time" my blogging has been or will be for awhile. 


The last guest just left our little farewell party. It was great to see all those who braved the 45 mph winds to hang out one last time before we take off. For those of you who couldn't make it, we will see you in two years! If not sooner -- we welcome visitors in Botswana!!


Our first guests, an awesome, "real expat" family we met in Buenos Aires.


Marcia and her fiance, Casey. They are getting married May 12!!! Marcia is a longtime friend of Neil's who recounted the day she met him in 1999 -- and the fact that when she saw him last week, he was wearing the same outfit as that night, right down to the beanie.


Jesse J Boogie in the middle! Matthieu and Hannah.


Babies everywhere! Nile, Erica, "Little a" and their mommies.


OK, so she's being serious here, but otherwise Erica is the happiest, smiliest baby I know!


Karina, aka Harlem Princess!


More babies. It was so cute to see them all playing.


More BsAs friends, Alanna and her mommy Pamela!


Then I got sticky root beer on my camera lens. I didn't realize it till after I got a few fuzzy shots.


Root beer, because you can't get it overseas!


Carlo finally got to hold Baby Nile ... sort of!

Matthew and Emily are TALL and Neil and I are short, so we took this shot as an experiment -- Neil and I are actually like 5 ft. away from them -- did the optical illusion work??

Papa Johns! It was a good night.

I tried to get pics of everyone present, but we inevitably missed a lot of people -- special shout outs to Marc, Mick, Adam and Michelle, Courtney, Steve L., Brandon-Meredith and clan, Wade-Kelly and baby boy, Yvette, and spouses who we didn't get photos with. THANK YOU for coming!!!!