Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hooray for Hollywood!

O.K. Hollywood may have been the most exciting and fun part of the trip for me. I certainly took alot of pictures. I'm going to try to narrow down the picture posting but please bare with me.

When we first got there and parked our car it was under a mall which was also connected to the Kodak Theatre. American Idol, anyone?
Then we went to sign up for a tour of some sort. Ours ended up being of star's homes and also some famous landmarks, etc. On the way to our meeting place on Hollywood Blvd we saw all the stars on the walk of fame. There are also tons of struggling actors dressed in costumes that you can take your picture with for a tip. After the boys saw Barney & Elmo they refused to take any more pictures despite seeing Batman, Spiderman, and Bumblebee. Our waiting point was at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. This is where all the handprints and footprints are. I'm geeky about Harry Potter (& cannot wait for the last movie to come out next month!) so I had to take a picture by theirs. All three main characters did hand prints and wand prints. Hugh Jackman's was the newest one there and it was done in April.

The first part of our tour took us to a good overlook spot of all of LA. It was also a good place to take pictures of the Hollywood sign. Of course you can barely see it near Chris's head in my picture. (That's Chris's mom in the picture with us.)
Our view of LA. You can see the Hollywood Bowl near the bottom right. Our tour took us through Beverly Hills and other swanky neighborhoods. Although I didn't get a picture of it, Michael Jackson's house (which he rented there) was the only one that had people standing around outside hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Alot of the pictures I got of homes show just a peek over a big wall or gate but here are a few.

David & Victoria Beckham
Madonna (purchased after her divorce from Guy Richie)
Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones
Matthew McConaughey (he also has a place in Austin, Texas!)

Heading down Rodeo Drive (which is only like two blocks long or something) we actually saw a famous person. Michael Clarke Duncan (John Coffey in The Green Mile) was crossing the street and waved to us. I was a little slow on the picture taking but still, here he is.This is the store from Pretty Woman where the sales ladies were mean to Julie Roberts and wouldn't sell her anything.
We also drove past the tattoo place from LA Ink. I couldn't believe that there weren't people outside but I guess they weren't filming. I would have liked to have gone inside to look - not for a tattoo. Chris and I went back to Hollywood a few days later to see a show at the Pantages Theatre. Chris was a very good hubby and we saw Dirty Dancing. It was beyond great and I had the best time ever. Of course I did have to pay him back by letting him go play poker at a casino one night. It was worth it! Actually that show was probably the best part of the whole trip......

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Re-Adoption Day!

What? Re-adoption? "Didn't you already adopt them once?", you ask. Yes we did but this is different. Today we joined with a group of maybe 10 or so families re-adopting kids here in Texas. These kiddos were born all over the world and are living with their families all over Texas. People have different reasons to wanting to re-adopt in their own states but our main reason is that now we'll be issued a Texas birth certificate. This means that if we ever (heaven forbid!) lose their Russian one we won't be out of luck. We can get a Texas copy anytime we need one without jumping through millions of hoops. This wasn't a requirement but something we chose to do. There is also something called a recognition of foreign adoption that we could have done but it wouldn't have given us a Texas birth certificate. Our good friend Luke (and mom Kelly) were part of our group today and we all went to San Antonio together.

The boys before we left - good buddies!This picture of us with the judge really stinks and I was apparently talking but I've got more being sent to me. The judge asked Zachary if he wanted to sit on her lap. He also got to hold her gavel. She tried to talk to Alex but he wanted nothing to do with her. He really wanted to hide behind daddy's leg but we made him stand in front.After the judge ruled in favor of all the re-adoptions she told the kids that now they would get ice cream every year on this day. We didn't get any today but we'll try to remember for next year. We love you Alex & Zachary!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our first few days

We got to Newport Beach on Thursday evening, a full day earlier than we expected. We found out that my mother-in-law has season tickets to the Anaheim Angels baseball games. We were lucky enough to be able to get some tickets and tag along to a game. We had a great time and the game was exciting. Tons of home runs & fireworks! The Angels won.

Saturday we took the boys to a great park. It had it all - a train ride, pony rides, ducks, etc. Zachary has no fear. He couldn't wait to jump on a pony. Alex originally said he didn't want to ride at all until Zach was almost done. Then he finally took his turn. We packed up a picnic lunch and spent several hours there. It was good to let the boys get out and run around after being cooped up in the car for so long.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Pictures really don't do the Grand Canyon justice - or any of the beautiful and scenic places we went on this trip. So, although I think some of our pictures are great, just imagine it even bigger (of course bigger) and better. What better way is there to see the Grand Canyon than from the air? That's right, we took a helicopter tour. Originally we weren't sure if Alex was going to go along with this. He even said no the first time or two we brought it up but the day of the tour he was ready. We could have taken a small plane instead but since daddy flies helicopters we couldn't pass up the chance to let the boys fly in one too. They were so excited waiting for our turn. The tour people even had to weigh us before we got on - I guess to determine where we sat?
The sights were amazing.

Although he was very excited the 20-30 minute helicopter ride (and probably the noise & motion) just put Zachary right to sleep! Poor little guy.When the tour was over we drove back into the park to walk around. I was a little nervous with the boys because although there were fences around the edges it was still rocky. I just knew that little boys running around would fall on the rocks. We very rarely let go of their hands.

We would have spent a little more time here if the boys were older. Unfortunately since I was hesitant to let them lose and we couldn't take hikes or river rafting, etc there wasn't much else for us to do. So we head to California a little earlier than expected.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meteor Crater & Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, AZ

Driving through some of New Mexico and pretty much all of Arizona we found ourselves constantly seeing signs for old Route 66. We even drove on it for a little bit but it crossed through nearly every town we did. Now, being the parent of young children the first thing that I thought about was the movie Cars. We kept telling the boys to look for Lightning McQueen. The scenery was right.

We even passed by this hotel that reminded me of the Cozy Cone motel in the movie.

O.K. so I'm a little bit nuts. It was a long trip.

The next stop on our road trip was the Painted Desert & Petrified Forest in Arizona. Don't let the name fool you - there is no forest. At least not a living one. The mountains and desert are beautiful colors. Almost like the Grand Canyon but on a smaller scale. The forest part is all the petrified trees. I didn't read up on what caused it but there are petrified logs throughout the whole place just laying scattered around. Some of those were beautiful colors too. Chris wanted to load up a tree trunk to bring home but (1) you're not allowed to take any out (2) we never could have picked it up and loaded it in our car. This was pretty much a drive through place. We did pull over and take pictures at scenic stops but for the most part the boys watched a movie in the car and didn't even notice.

Not too far from the Painted Desert (and on the way to Flagstaff) was Meteor Crater. This is the 1st crater to be identified as an impact from a meteor and is the best preserved in the world. It was huge. At one time (I don't think anymore) it was used for training NASA astronauts. You can still see the old mine shaft in the middle of the crater. You can't even capture the whole thing in one picture.

One more stop before California - the Grand Canyon!