October 17, 2011

Fall Break - Part 2

After spending 3 days at the Disney parks we headed to Laguna Beach where my brother and his family live.  We spent a few hours at the quiet beach across the street from their house (lucky ducks!) and enjoyed exploring the tide pools.  Then Darin, my sister-in-law, served us a fabulous dinner (she is an amazing hostess!) and we enjoyed a fun evening of visiting.

Then we headed further south to San Diego where we spent the rest of the week with my sister (another amazing hostess!) and her family.  Thanks Lizzie!  Unfortunately, Jay had to go back to work, so he flew home.  We missed him, but had a good time in SD.  We enjoyed Seaport Village....

the USS Midway tour.....

the Mormon Battalion Visitor Center.....

and Coronado Island.  We walked around the Hotel Del and I ran into one of my very dearest friends!  What are the chances???  We also rented bikes and rode around the island.  I have always wanted to do that, and it was a fun way to spend my birthday.  Yes, I celebrated my birthday there, and Liz made me a delicious cake.
It was a great trip but we were glad to return to our home that we love, and be with our husband/dad who we love!

October 16, 2011

Fall Break - Part 1

At the Lego Store, Downtown Disney
 We take our family to Disneyland during Fall Break every other year, and this year was a "Disneyland Year." 
 One of our favorite things to do at Disneyland is ride "Splash Mountain" and make weird faces for the camera.... we usually decide on a "theme" and we all pose in an appropriate way.  We get tired of seeing the same expression of wide-eyed-wide-smiled surprise in every photo so this time we all tried to look the opposite... bored and expressionless.  Jay is even pretending to be asleep!
 Every time we ride the Winnie-the-Pooh ride we have the kids pose at this spot... it's fun (and kind of sad) to see how they have grown!
 After all these years, this was our first ride on the Mark Twain River Boat!

We love the rides at Disneyland, of course, but some of our favorite things are the non-rides.  The shows at the Golden Horseshoe are really fun, especially Billy Hill and the Hillbillies (music/comedy).  Very entertaining.

We have always loved "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" on Main Street.  It has been completely renovated recently and it's quite impressive.  However, we were a little disappointed because he no longer recites the Gettysburg Address!  But it's still really cool, and very patriotic.

Captain EO was re-released as a tribute to Michael Jackson after his death.  Jay and I laughed our heads off remembering seeing it for the first time, but our kids had never seen it before, of course.  They thought it was pretty cheesy, which is totally is.  Totally.  The music is pretty catchy though.

Muppet Vision 3-D at California Adventure is very fun, and it always takes us by surprise even though we have seen it many times.  We are a Muppet-loving family.

The Aladdin show at California Adventure is awesome, but the close-up-and-personal interactive story-telling show at Aladdin's Oasis was really fun too, especially if you got selected from the audience to participate (which Collin did one year).  Unfortunately, they stopped doing the show, which is a bummer; it was very funny and entertaining.  It's still there, tucked between the Tiki Room (another of our favorites) and the Jungle Cruise (fun for some good laughs) but I think now they just use it for photo ops with Jasmine and Aladdin.

When Mary was younger we loved the princess storytelling, but that was also when it was in the toy shop, and it was very intimate... and really, really funny.  It's a lot different now.  Oh well.

We love Disneyland!

Oh, and if you are looking for a quiet place to have an affordable dinner at Disney (quite a feat!), duck into the Grand Californian and head for "White Water Snacks" by the pool.... you can buy pre-made salads and sandwiches, but we always order off the menu and they cook it to order and bring it you!  :)

October 10, 2011

William joins our family temporarily

We babysat my sister's little boy for several days while she and her husband took a trip for their anniversary.  He really took to Jay immediately.  My sister and I look alike so it's easy for him to adjust to me as mom for a few days, but it cracks me up how quickly he accepted his new home and family without a fuss.  He is such a cute boy and a lot of fun.  We enjoyed having him. 

October 05, 2011

Follow the Steeple

My book club is doing something different this month... writing! Actually, we are reading too... books about writing... and then writing stories from our own life.   Here is one from my childhood.

Follow the Steeple

"Just follow the steeple." said Aaron.  "It will lead us home."

I believed him.  He said it with complete confidence, and I had known him my entire life... all five long years at the time... so I had no reason to doubt him.  Besides, he was a boy, and since I had an older brother and was used to letting him tell me what to do, it seemed that Aaron was the obvious leader over me and my best friend, Liselle, who was also Aaron's cousin.  Liselle and I simply trusted Aaron in our 5-year-old way.

The three of us lived on the same street in Mesa, within a few houses of each other, and attended morning kindergarten at a nearby elementary school.  Our mothers were friends, so carpooling was natural.  On this particular day, someone was late picking us up after school (we didn't keep track, so I have no idea whose turn it was... we simply trusted them too).  We were tired of waiting what seemed like an eternity, though it was likely only a few minutes longer than our normal wait.

I don't remember who had the brilliant idea of walking home, but it seemed like a good plan to our grumbling tummies.  It wasn't far; certainly it was within walking distance.  And the weather was nice (always an important consideration in the Arizona desert), but it would require crossing a busy major street in mid-day traffic, though that didn't seem to concern any of us much.

What did concern us was that we didn't know the way home.  Since we were used to traveling to and from school in a car, and our young minds had not yet developed much sense of direction, we were rather stumped at first.  We seemed to know the general direction, but not how to navigate the streets around the buildings between the school and our homes.

At this point, Liselle and I gave up.  Waiting seemed preferable to getting lost.  But Aaron was undaunted.  "Just follow the steeple," he said.  That perked us up.  Liselle and I didn't even question this; we knew he was right.  The church, whose tall steeple towered above the houses and trees, stood at the end of our quiet suburban street, and we walked there to attend services every Sunday.  We knew exactly where it was!  We could see it from the school!  And because we trusted Aaron, we knew the steeple would lead us home.

And somehow it did.  I guess Aaron deserves some credit too, for he was able to keep two gasping 5-year-old girls pressing forward on what turned out to be a much longer walk than any of us anticipated.  Taking a route that I now know to be very much "the long way home," we arrived at the church, exhausted and hungry (it was now well past lunch time), and found our jilted chauffeur driving around frantically to find us.  Down came the car window and we heard an anxious voice exclaim, "You walked home?!  How did you know the way?"

We three triumphant hikers simply smiled and replied in unison, "We just followed the steeple."