Sunday, November 16, 2014

California...Part 2

Disney Animation Studio...WOW!!! This is not a tour that just anyone can take. You have to know someone that works there that can show you around. Well lucky for us, James has a friend that he worked with at AMC movie theaters back in high school who draws for Disney. He has been there since the mid 90s and has directed a couple of Meet the Robinsons and the most recent Winnie the Pooh well as drawing and even doing some voices for many other films. However, he is one of the nicest, most humble and genuine people I have ever met.

He gave us a tour all around the studios and told us how films begin from ideas and end up on the big screen. We got to see different movies at different stages of development. We learned how they have to be so detailed in creating robot arms or growing hair through computer animation. It was absolutely fascinating. I know there is a lot that goes into making an animated feature happen, but I had no idea just how many different departments there are. There are people who do special effects (I figured that you just draw some sparkles or smoke in an explosion...nope wrong!). There are people who draw characters and others who draw the scenery. There are people who are responsible for lighting...again I thought you just draw the picture a little lighter or darker or make it look like it's inside. Wrong again!

Everyone was so nice and very chilled and laid back. It was such an atmosphere of creativity. Ella has said for a long time that she wants to be an artist when she grows up. Oh boy! Haha! Well I turned to her and said, "Ella, you could grow up and be an artist like these people are." Steve, James's friend, stopped what he was doing and asked Ella about being an artist. He asked her what she likes to do...drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. She said drawing. Then he asked what she likes to draw and she said people or characters. He said he did too and likes doing different expressions. Her eyes were twinkling. He told her later that he would love to help her in any way and see her work. She was on cloud 9. We will see what the future might hold.

The only down side was that we were not able to take any pictures. There were a few times that we would talk about pictures we saw that we were told, "You didn't see that!" haha I guess they are just protecting their ideas. After we finished at the animation studio, we walked across the street to the live action film sets. Movies such as Pete's Dragon, Mary Poppins, Pirates of the Caribbean, and countless others were filmed at this location. WOW!! This is the studio that Walt Disney himself created. It is where his office was and where Saving Mr. Banks was filmed. We were able to take some pictures here. It was so cool to see how movies used to be made compared to how they are today.

They were actually filming that day and this was a trailer set up for cast and crew, it said. 

Thank you, Steve, for a very special day!! We will never forget this opportunity!!

California...Part 1

When we left Poland, we had decided not to do a family vacation because we were traveling for so many other things. Well we had some plans fall through and airline miles that needed to be transferred so we decided to take the girls to California. We had an amazing time!! It was exactly what we needed.

God provided so many things for our trip. First of all, there is a family who is willing to open their home for missionaries to stay in for free. Second, James has a friend from high school who is an animator for Disney. He graciously showed us around the Disney animation studios and then on top of that gave us tickets for a day at Disneyland!! If it wasn't for these 2 blessings, this trip would have probably not happened. I will do this in a couple of posts.

We arrived early Sunday morning and rented a car and went straight to Hollywood. James found directions to the Griffith Observatory which overlooks LA as well as the Hollywood sign, which was one of Ella's requests to see.

When we finished taking pictures and had taken in all the sights there, we headed off for the Walk of know all the famous folks' stars and hand and footprints in front of the Chinese Theater? This was Ella's second request. She LOVED seeing different people's stars, and both girls loved putting their hands and feet in other people's to see who has the same size they do. I think Ella took about 100 pictures here.

That is wrap on day 1 in Hollywood. A few days later we took a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to my favorite city in all of America...San Diego!! I was so looking forward to being on the beach again. It was a bit chilly, and I hadn't brought anyone's swimsuit. I was planning for us just to walk along the beach, see the seals in La Jolla and maybe head to Balboa Park to play. Well...our trip didn't quite go as planned. We got to La Jolla and found the seals and a small beach area. The girls and I walked down the steps to the beach barefoot and ready to enjoy the water for the first time since we left Poland. The water was a bit choppy but it felt nice. 

You can see that we were quite happy to be by the ocean water again!! We even got to see a couple of seals up close. 

Ella found an amazing shell that was just floating along in the water. It is seriously one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. 

But then the unexpected happened. The water got very choppy all of a sudden.

We had just decided to head back up to James with the cool shell when out of no where a giant wave attacked us...We were not that close to the water as you can see in this picture. 

But that did not stop the wave from soaking Ella and myself from the head down. 

Yeah, this is not how I was expecting the time to end after only about 10-15 minutes in my favorite area. However, we had no clothes, towels, nothing. We were soaking wet and covered in sand and salt water. So we had to turn around and head back to the house. I was oh so sad!

But once we got back and cleaned up, we headed out to see Big Hero 6 and Wahoo's fish tacos. So all was not a loss...however, I had my camera with me and the wave killed my brand new lens James just bought me. Boo!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

First Few Days

Our first few days were filled with doctor visits, trying to overcome jetlag and have as much fun as we could handle. 

Early morning coloring since we weren't sleeping. 
Macie had a hard time making it through the day without falling asleep. 

Yaya (Shirley) treated us girls to mani/pedis. This was the girls' first time and they had a blast! 

Britni and I went to a Painting with a Twist party that our sis-in-law, Heather, hosted. The painting was so cute and I was excited to paint it. It was much more challenging than I expected. But we had a blast. 

Then we went to church and spoke about Poland in dad's Sunday school class. It was fun to share about what we do. Afterward, my granny took us all out for lunch. We got to take family pics. First time since Britni's wedding that we've all been together. 

It was a whirlwind, and I often felt like I was in a fog, but all in all it was a fun re-entry. 

American Arrival

We left Poland on Tuesday 15th of July and had an overnight layover in London. We were able to have dinner and hang out with some of our favorite friends. 
Macie experienced the first water fountain she remembers. 

We happened to run into colleagues in the London airport and they were on the row behind us. It was great for our kids. They had friends throughout the flight. 

Finally, after 10 long hours, we landed in Dallas. Then we had to wait and wait for our luggage and go through customs. 
Macie was losing it by this point. It was 11pm to our bodies. 

But on the other side of customs...
This was waiting for us!!! 

And we celebrated with our first American meal at Whataburger, of course! 

It was so good to see all of our family again after 3.5 years!!! We have missed them so much!!