Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmastime in San Diego

We try to check out at least one of San Diego's many Christmas events each December, so on Sunday night we watched the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights for the first time.  It's a parade of decorated boats that proceeds along the entire harbor and bay area near downtown.  We got to our viewing spot on Harbor Island early, set up our camping chairs, and bundled up in winter gear and blankets.  Then we chatted with our neighbors and waited for the parade to reach us from its starting point on Shelter Island.  

 There were a ton of boats, so the parade took about an hour from start to finish.  They were all very creatively decorated, and some had theme music or Christmas music blaring from speakers.  One even had a live band onboard!  Here were just a few of our favorites:

 This group paddled an outrigger canoe the entire way!  Extra points for manual propulsion!

 A Top Gun theme.  They were blaring "Highway to the Danger Zone" as they passed by.

I don't know how they accomplished this, but they did an incredible job with the sleigh and reindeer.

The ultimate party boat.  Super loud music, people having a dance party on the bow, and strobe light effects. 

A pretty view of the parade continuing its journey towards downtown.

Later this week, we're also going to see "The Nutcracker" for the first time.  It's performed at the San Diego Civic Theater every year, and I got a great deal on center orchestra seats on Groupon. I think we'll really enjoy it. 

In other news, Dan has gotten some pretty fun "birthday presents" from his staff this year, and he's loving it!    

 One for you, one for baby. :)

These will ensure she doesn't look too much like a boy in all her Islanders gear. I see many father/daughter hockey games in our little girl's future!

Me & baby girl at 22 weeks - more than halfway to our delivery date!  I've felt great during the 2nd trimester, and I feel her kicking and moving around a ton now.  About a week ago, Dan was able to feel her kick for the first time, too! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dan's Birthday Celebration(s)

Birthdays only come once a year, so we make the most of them!  Dan's birthday was last Saturday, but we've been celebrating for at least the past week.  I signed us up for every restaurant e-mail list I can think of, so we're inundated with birthday offers each year.  It's a fun way to go out cheaply & more often that week without cooking or doing dishes afterwards. :)

One night, Dan wanted to skip dinner and go straight to Coldstone's to use his buy one get one free offer.  Ice cream for dinner and a walk on the beach. I think I heard angels singing. :)

On his actual birthday, we went to Disneyland! That night, they were beginning a Christmas concert they run from December 1-20, and we wanted to check it out.

 We stopped to pick up Dan's favorite Southern California food for lunch - the California Burrito

And when we got to Anaheim, we bought dessert at Joe's Italian Ice stand. You choose your ice flavor and they add frozen custard to the top & bottom, so it tastes like a Creamsicle.  So delicious!

Christmastime is in full swing at Disneyland. I love how festive everything looks!

And their Christmas concert was just amazing.  You had to be a VIP to get seats for the event, but they held it outdoors right on Main Street in front of the train station, so there was also standing room around the sides of the seating area.  We waited in the standing area for about an hour before the concert started so we could get a good view, and it was well worth it!  This picture doesn't really do it justice, since the stage was about twice this big and full of choirs. They hold auditions each year for local high school choirs to sing at the event, so we were surrounded by family members who had come to watch their kids sing.  They had a full orchestra and some soloists from the Disney Choir, and everything was done beautifully.

Each night, they have a celebrity narrator who reads the Christmas story from the Bible, and after he/she finishes reading each section, the choir & orchestra perform Christmas carols before the next section of the story is read.  The whole concert lasts about an hour.  Dennis Haysbert read that night, and this is as close as my camera could zoom.  He has such a great voice, it was wonderful to hear him read the best story ever.

 A much better picture. On other nights, Dick Van Dyke, Molly Ringwald, Kurt Russell, and others will be the narrators.

At 7:00, we happened to be walking in front of the castle, when they suddenly dimmed the street lights and turned everything into a winter wonderland scene.  A pleasant surprise!

 We stayed late for the fireworks show, even though it was drizzling rain the whole time.  They were supposed to have "snow" fall down on the crowds right after the fireworks were over, but it didn't work - I assume because of the rain.  We'll have to go back to see it again.  There's no other way to see snow this close to the beach! :)

On Sunday, we took advantage of a Phil's BBQ birthday offer for lunch, and then topped it off with Dan's favorite chocolate creme pie!

No cooking, hardly any dishes, and we both gained about 5 pounds.  I'd call that a successful birthday week! :)