Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

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Hooray for a 3 day weekend!  What better plan than to visit the Ronald Reagan Library on President’s Day?   Lucky me it is nestled in the hills overlooking my hometown.   I visited the Reagan library when I was a tween and all  I can remember is that Mac N Cheese was Ronnie’s favorite dish….however that was well before Reagan’s Air Force One was a part of the ensemble.  For years I have been dying to see the new hangar in person.    This would be Amelie’s first trip to a museum and I can tell her that the first plane she was on happened to be Air Force One.

The weather was perfect and the Library was very festive with music, crafts, food, and historical figures.   We arrived in time to see Lincoln delivering his speech in the courtyard full of eager little ears.  We bought our tickets at $21 for each adult, and headed to the crafts where Mommy Amelie made her own Lincoln necklace out of a penny, red and blue paper stars and yarn.  It lasted almost the entire afternoon before she ate it.

Seriously, you really need a whole day to absorb and enjoy all that the Reagan Library has to offer.  It really is quite impressive and moving.   Some of the highlights were the Spy exhibit,  the Berlin Wall,   Air Force One , the White House Lawn,  the Communist exhibit and Reagan’s Memorial.

Being that it was so occupied on President’s Day the line to tour inside Reagan’s plane was about an hour.  That pretty much killed the day for us because after that Amelie was dunzo.    After which we rushed through the rest of the Library, but gives us a reason to return.  All in all it was a beautiful day and made for a nice family outing.

The White House Lawn

One word.  Peaceful.  Growing up in Moorpark and Simi I have always looked up over the horizon of Tierra Rejada Road towards the chief building on top of the hill…but not today.  Today we stood on top of the hill gazing back down at our hometown below.   The landscaping is a replica of the White House lawn.

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The Berlin Wall

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace,  if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization:  Come here to this gate!   Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!  Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! ” 

– Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987

Wow.  You just don’t realize how impressive or powerful somethings are until you see it in person.  Like this slice of the Berlin wall.    It was very imposing and dramatic in its stature and significance.  Ironic, that this piece of the wall is decorated with flowers and butterflies in cheerful colors,  yet it is cold and solid to the touch reminding visitors its true soul.

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Air Force One Pavilion

For years I have wanted to explore inside this pavilion.   You can see the bright lights at night from miles away, suggesting something spectacular occupies the inside.   The hanger is spacious, clean and bright!  The east wall is a window to the landscape outside.  For my fellow locals, you can see the infamous cross of Simi Valley from inside the hangar.  A couple next to us had a conversation trying to guess what the cross meant…I even heard them suggest it was where Reagan was buried.   How disappointed they must be to learn its a local hiking spot.

Stepping aboard The Flying White House was a neat experience.   It was out dated and stale but that is okay, because it was real.  After all this puppy put on a lot of miles having served for Presidents Nixon, Carter, Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush.  Here is a random fact, Reagan always kept a cake aboard just incase it was someone’s birthday while they were in the air on business.  Good ol’ Ronnie.

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Presidential Motorcade

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Enjoying the rest of the tour

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“God told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but so many of our neighbors are starving to death while our tables are filled with abundance.”

My younger cousin, Ashley Geringer, took a trip to Addis, Ethiopia to visit the Hope for the Hopeless organization on behalf of Ordinary Heroes who advocates for children or families in need.   She blogged about her experience which I found to be a wonderful read.  It was full compassion and a hefty dose of reality but because I couldn’t be able to explain it myself, I just suggest you read for yourself.    I was truly inspired by the message that every child needs a hero, and every hero can be one of us.

Ashley In Africa

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Lily’s Petting Zoo Birthday Party

Having life long friends is a blessing.  Watching our children play together is priceless.   This December Amelie and I took a road trip together up Nor Cal to visit one of my oldest friends, Jessica, and celebrate her daughters 8th birthday party with a plethora of family and friends.   I was thrilled to be there and even more so to see her Mom, Dad, and Aunt Nini who shook their heads at careless hell raising adolescent versions of Jessica and I so many years ago.

Despite the winter season, the weather was perfect and the day was long.  Lily’s birthday theme was Zoolicious and we were treated to a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, games and food.  Sounds like a party to me.

The kids were all so well behaved around the animals and surprisingly the animals were just as pleased to play with the kids.  Amelie has pets of her own, a large dog and little kitty cat, whom she has learned to love and pet gently so I wasn’t surprised with her delicate demeanor towards the tiny bunnies and needy piglets.  As for the twin goats, those two were trouble and mostly wrestling with one another.   I even got some kisses on the cheek from one.    The Mr and Mrs Piggies were determined to shack up in anyone’s lap and stay as long as they were invited.     One of the small hens took flight and landed on Lilys head for a premium view of the party.    We had a great time and partied like animals.  Kudos to Jessica for throwing such a cute shindig.

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As for these girls, they were three amigos.   Amelie was quite charming with Lily and Analese.   Im not sure who adopted who for the weekend, but they all went with it.

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To sum it all up

Thanksgiving weekend at Underwood Farms

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This holiday has been wonderful.  its always exciting with Amelie and she brings new life and meaning to these special occasions.  Its as if you are living them again as a little girl watching her discover new things and tradition for the first time.    The day after turkey day, we gathered with some of my husband’s family at our home.  We took everyone to our local farm to play with the animals, climb hay, chase chickens and pick out fresh goodies for dinner.  It genuinely was a wonderful day.

Visiting Moorpark Zoo

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Recently we took a trip to America’s Teaching Zoo nestled in our home town.   The Zoo is on campus of Moorpark College a top a hill overlooking all of Moorpark.  I remember when I was young and our early morning weekend soccer games were played on the field just below the Zoo, we could hear the animals getting worked up as it was their feeding time.  An interesting memory, warming up for soccer on a misty cool Saturday morning, to the backdrop of lion’s roaring, exotic birds squealing and monkeys jabbering.    I even took animal anatomy and physiology classes at the Zoo in my college days.

This was Amelie’s first trip to a zoo and we were accompanied by Uncle Jared, Papa and my best friend Delanie joined us with her son Jacob.  If you haven’t been, you should definitely visit at least once.  Just ease of access, quaint calm and inviting setting and intimate zoo space is enough to make it a family favorite.  Not to mention admission is $8 – $12 and kids under 2 are free.

We watched 3 feedings and demonstrations which goes on through out the day.   We met an alligator who was brought to the zoo after he out grew is habitat in someones bathtub, the dainty Serval and a most talented and crowd pleasing Hyena with his over 70 tricks.    Unfortunately we missed their live animal shows but all the more reason to come back on another lovely afternoon.

Fall is in the air

Golden sunshine, cool crisp air,  the sound of leaves being shuffled around by the wind and smells of pumpkin spice.  Yep, fall is in the air.   Every year for the past 10 or more years,  Ive caught the sight of a giant gapped tooth pumpkin on the corner of Tierra Rejada and old Moorpark Road pointing to Underwood Farms Fall Harvest Festival and Monster Corn Maze.  Now, as much as Ive always thought “I have to check that place out”, Ive never really had a reason.   Needless to say that now I have a reason for everything, which includes several trips to the Underwood Farms. Continue reading