Monday, April 8, 2013

The Big Catch Up

Not really. I'm not going drone on about everything that's happened since I last blogged. We're happy and well. Life is good to us. We are busy with work and callings and life. I just have been busy, unmotivated, whatever about blogging. But since my original intent was for this to be a sort of virtual scrapbook and journal for our family (since I have long ago abandoned any thought of producing REAL scrapbooks) I decided I had better make a few entries occasionally. We spent a few days this past week (spring break) in St. George. Zion's National Park is lovely and gorgeous and not too far away. But it is somewhat of a drive from St. George and we opted for the smaller, closer, but just as lovely Snow Canyon. Beautiful red rock and perfect temperatures made this a wonderful hiking experience for our little family. And what three boys wouldn't love to get out and get dirty in red sand and climb some mountains? Elizabeth tolerated it but preferred to be carried most of the time. I guess I've been away from blogger long enough that the format has changed and been updated. I can't get my pictures in order and they are being inserted in strange places. Oh well. Anyway, while we were in St. George we stopped at the cemetery to find my grandparent's graves. They are two of the sweetest people you'll ever meet and I miss them. We took some pictures by their graves, decorated the headstones with dandelions and stopped by their old house. I always get a little teary when we turn down their little drive and approach the house that strangers now live in.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Disneyland (version 3)

You don't need to tell me that for non season pass holders and non CA residents, going to Disneyland 3 times in one year is a bit excessive. I am well aware. That said, we planned this third trip before we even had the 1st and 2nd in our minds. The plan all along was to meet my brother and his family for a surprise trip to Disneyland in October. We don't get to see Uncle David and Aunt Katie very much since they live so far away. So that's exactly what we did last week. We had a hard time for the last 10 months keeping it a secret from the kids. We nick named it "Spring Cleaning" (thanks for the idea, Katie) so we could discuss it in front of the kids and be sneaky. Katie did the same thing with her kids and those poor children were under the impression that they were going to Utah to clean my house. HA! So funny. I love playing tricks on kids. We knew our little struggling miniature mini van (there is NO storage space in the back behind the seats) would not do very well on the trip or accommodate a stroller, port-a-crib, and various suitcases, pillows, toys, etc. So the first plan we put into action was renting a monster Suburban. We actually reserved a midsized SUV, but found to our delight that they had upgraded us to a 2013 Suburban with two pull down DVD players, tons of room, every whistle and bell available, and hardly any miles on it. I can't even tell you how much fun it was to drive. Greg and I both wanted turns, so we added both our names to the rental contract as drivers. I learned to drive on a humongous 10 passenger van, so I'm well acquainted with large vehicles. LOVED IT. When we decide to get a new family car, I'll be lobbying hard for a gas guzzling, non economic, environment killing suburban. Here we are stopped for lunch in St. George. Pretty, no?
But I should probably share the story of how we revealed the trip to our kids. We rented the Burb the day before we left, so we hid it on the street up from us. Then after the kids went to bed that night, moved it into the garage and packed it all up. The morning that we left we had the kids get up, make beds, get dressed, eat breakfast, do some chores, etc. We had a treasure hunt set up all around the house with puzzle pieces as each clue. We asked what the kids wanted to do that day and then handed them the first clue in the treasure hunt. Each clue led them to a puzzle piece. Once they had all the pieces, they had to put together the puzzle.
Under the completed Mickey head it, said "Go get in the big car in the garage! We're off!" And we were. Nathan started to cry, David asked why we painted our old van, and Andrew was speechless. Pretty satisfying results.
(Above)David is asking why our van turned black..
Packed and ready to go! We drove all day and got to Anaheim around 7pm. Dave and family had flown in earlier that day so we met them at the hotel and got some dinner together. Dave's family had never been to Disneyland and we felt like such pros showing them around the park and being tour guides. When we lived in California early October was usually a pretty good time to go because school was back in session and it wasn't quite Halloween yet. This year, however, because of the new Cars Land in California Adventure, there were crowds like I hadn't ever seen before. It was insane there. But we knew how to work the FastPass system and had three days to do what we wanted to do between the two parks. California Adventure has some cool stuff in it, but it just doesn't compare to Disneyland to me. It's more magical, more detailed, more picturesque, and more fun in my opinion.
(Above)The Magic Kingdom, Halloween Style.
(Above) Sophie and Tinkerbell
(Above)Everyone on the Astro Orbitor. Except me. I don't love round and round rides.
(Above) Small people on the road! Watch out! Autopia
It's a Small World
Spectacularly decked out Haunted Mansion. Each October they completely redo the ride. I can't imagine the time and work it must be to haul out all the original ride stuff and then switch everything around for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" decor. The whole ride is completely different. So much work! But it's Disneyland and they don't do anything half way. We love the Nightmare Before Christmas at our house. Fun show.
(Below) Andrew at the Kozy Kone Motel in Radiator Springs.
(Above) My brother Dave on Luigi's Flying tires. Small picture, sorry. (Below) Getting ready to ride Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.
Radiator Springs at night. It looks and feels exactly like you've stepped into the movie. They've recreated it down to the tiniest detail. Amazing!
Holding on for dear life on the Radiator Springs Racers. Fast and fun. Thankfully all my kids were tall enough to ride it. As were the cousins. Everyone was happy. We switched off watching each others babies, in case you're wondering.
(Below) Head first! Splash Mountain.
(Below) Sunny Teacups
(Below) We only know the guy with sunglasses and lady in blue shirt. They're kin. And the little people, too.
(Below)The whole gang enjoying an ice cream cone from the Gibson Girls parlor. Except Uncle Dave who was photographing.
(Below) David didn't want an ice cream. He only wanted the very characteristic lollipop from Disneyland. Elizabeth did too. Thief!
I thought these carousel horses that Bert and Mary Poppins were riding were so clever. They actually went up and down like they do in the movie during the horse race. So clever.
Elizabeth has not put this Minnie Mouse down since we've been back. She's never really taken to a stuffed animal before, but she sure loves her Minnie.
We're home now and I'm still trying to get caught up on laundry. We had an amazing trip and it was so much fun to go with our family that we don't get to see very often. Guys?? Let's start making plans for next time. We'll call the next trip "Yard work" or "Flu Shots."