Tuesday, October 9, 2018

 My friend Zhami and I took our boys to Boise to see the MK Nature Center; it has a visitors center and a pretty walk with a garden and several tanks with salmon and trout.  Our kids always enjoy going there, and Zhami and Oliver had never been there so we spent the morning there together.  Zhami and I met earlier this year when she moved across the street.  Her husband is from Washington, and they moved from the Tri-Cities area.  Zhami is from Kazakhstan but has lived in the US for several years now.  She met her husband Dustin when he took a trip to Kazakhstan and she was his tour guide.  Zhami is one of the most sweet, kind and open hearted people I've ever met.  She is a wonderful artist and has inspired me to get painting again.  I love spending time with her.

 At the beginning of September Scentsy had their anniversary bash, with activities for the kids and an amazing fireworks show.  Everyone around is invited to come with a $10 donation to charity, but sadly many people park down the street and sneak in.  The fireworks are better than most of the 4th of July fireworks we've seen, and is so much fun.  We brought Roo's friend Ashlyn with us.


 The following week we headed to California.  Our destination was Anaheim but we stopped in San Diego along the way to see Danny and Shelby.  Their daughter Ellie is three, adorable and talking so much.  And most of us hadn't met Jacob, so that was an extra treat.  We went to an amazing park right across from the freeway for lunch.  It was beautiful!!



 Jacob
 That evening we checked into our hotel at Disneyland.  Everything was Halloween, and there was a display being built in the lobby, completely from treats (such as rice crispie treats).
 We then walked around Downtown Disney like we always do. 
 There were fireworks from the park that we could see from our room, so we enjoyed those and went to bed, eager for the next day.  Aspen and I were taking an Uber to Universal to see Harry Potter world, and the boys were going to California Adventure.

 Cars Land
  As Roo and I waited in line there was a crowd on the red carpet, and I recognized Mario Lopez.  He was promoting some celebration the show Extra was having.

 Inside Olivander's to get Roo a wand; the souvenir she had been dying for!  It was a cool place; I didn't want to leave.  The Harry Potterness of it was so real!


 After Olivander's Roo and I headed to our first ride, which was in Hogwart's castle.  It was so fabulous; we felt like we were really in a castle, one we had read so much about ;) . And the ride was so much fun!

 The boys were having a wonderful time at Disneyland.  Eric said the lines were pretty short, or they would use fast passes if they had to.  They just flew from one thing to the next. 


 After another ride Roo and I just explored Hogsmeade.  With Roo's wand she could cast "spells" on certain window displays, so we checked those out and they were a lot of fun.  And each of the shops had their own magical ambiance so I wanted to see inside each one.

 After Cars Land the boys went to the Redwood Creek trail and play area, which is basically the coolest park you've ever seen, but because its in Disneyland its not such a big deal ;).  The boys loved climbing.


 Then went and made some Coco crafts.

 More Hogsmeade


 On the ferris wheel
 Roo and I spent the rest of the day seeing other things at Universal, but really just wanted to head back to Hogsmeade!  It was definitely the funnest part of the park.  We did do a backlot tour that I remember doing when I was in high school and enjoyed.  Aspen didn't think she would enjoy it but thanked me later for making her go.
 Anyway for dinner we ate at the Three Broomsticks.  It was amazing!  The ambiance was fantastic; it reminded me so much of an old British tavern; and the food was melt-in-your-mouth good.  Especially the butterbeer.



 The boys rode Grizzly Rapids and got soaked.  They were so wet they had to go back to the hotel and change.  They loved it though and made Roo and I go with them a few days later.  We never got as wet as they did that first time.  Apparently they floated right under the geiser of water that's along the ride.



 Aspen and I stayed at the park until closing.  Definitely a great girls' day ;)


 The boys finished the day with something sweet.


 The following day we all headed to Disneyland.  Eric was so good at getting us one fast pass after another; it was busy there but not too bad and we got to see a lot of the things on our list, like Space Mountain (which had ghosts fly with you) and its a Small World.  Boy I look tired there with Eric.  I was!!


 
 We went to Tom Sawyer's Island, which I have never done, and it was a first for the kids too.  There were lots of caves to explore; it was great.




 We had signed the kids up that morning for Jedi Training, which is so much fun.  The kids participate in a Jedi show.  B was old enough this year to do it, so all the kids did it together. 




 They had to fight and defeat Darth Vader or Kylo Ren, and they did a great job!





We got to meet Darth Vader afterwards.
 He didn't scare Aspen.
 We also got to meet Kylo Ren.  He was intimidating ;)


 Some other rides.....



 Haha Eric, Aspen and Oakley were really good at holding a pose on Splash mountain and other rides with drops.  I loved this one.  Here are other ride photos:





I was going to play cool on this one but just ended up screaming for my life.





We evidently need to have another kid to fill up all these 6 seater rides.
 After Haunted Mansion, which was fun to do at night.




 The next day we went to California Adventure.


 Standing in line forEVER for Midway Mania, which was really fun; another new one for us. 
 Watching the Newsies do their thing; a must see for me ;)
We also went on Guardians of the Galaxy Breakout, which was new.  We loved it but only got to do it once. :(



 Doing some more climbing.








 Eric took this shot of Aspen going down Grizzly Rapids.  The boys had just done it, and when we went to find them she decided she was going to do it on her own.  I just love this picture.
 Back at Disneyland; our last day.  We weren't so rushed because we'd already spent a day in this park and seen a lot of things we'd wanted to do.  So we just took the day easy and explored.  It was my favorite day.
 Finally getting on Alice in Wonderland for Roo.  This ride always has a long line and Aspen was very patient to wait until it was a bit shorter.



 Having dinner at the Blue Bayou; a favorite.   I had the lamb and it was to die for.  Eric had their Monte Cristo sandwich which is also amazing.





 Riding the Columbia, something else we hadn't done before.  Views from the ship.


Fun in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle


 One thing we did that day was see a fun play at the Royal Theatre, across from Small World.  Its new, and near this quaint little square that I've never seen before.  It was so fun to discover something new on our last day.
 That night, right before the park closed, we hopped on Small World.  By the time we got off the streets were empty and we left the park with it all to ourselves.

 All tuckered out.  Somehow I agreed to let Birch buy that nasty cobra!
 The next morning before we left for the airport we had a character breakfast at our other favorite restaurant, the Storyteller's Cafe.  The kids got to see Mickey and Minnie, and Chip and Dale.

 The finished display in the hotel
 When we got home I told the kids we could decorate for Halloween, to ease our sadness at having to come home.  It helped.

 My hairstylist worked some wonders on my hair and the color matches now; I also got it trimmed.  Yay!
 My buddy Leslie and I ran the FitOne the following Saturday, the 22nd.  The day before we went to their expo downtown to pick up our race packets.  Birch and Les's daughter Carly came with us; there are so many fun things to see and so much free stuff there.  The kids played and also put on a dance show for everyone nearby.

 The next morning we carpooled to the race; Les's hubby Matt was there too.  He was running the half and we ran the 10k.  The morning was so much warmer than last year thank heavens!!  55 instead of 35 degrees.  We did get caught in a sprinkler storm though beforehand so that definitely helped to wake us up!
 The race was so much fun.  A challenge at mile 4ish because you climb for almost 2 miles, and I try to get the best time I can.  My goal was to beat my pace from last year, and I did that by 14 seconds per mile.  My best pace and time yet; I was really happy with that!  Oakley ran the 5k, and I joined him and that was the best; seeing my boy enjoying himself and doing his best at something challenging.  We had a nice time chatting between breaths.  O got a great time; about a 10 minute mile pace.  Not bad for a 7 year old!
 
 O doing his homework
 Roo wearing MY shoes.  And they fit!
 A bike O made from clay.
 A haunted house B drew.  There's a bat on the top left and a ghost on the bottom right saying boo.  And a creepy staircase.
 On a walk with the kids


 B on his bike
 Our backyard before the sunset.  I just love fall sunsets.
 
 We had Dad's 60th birthday party here a few days ago.  Mom and Annie did a great job with food and decorations and we had a lot of fun.


 I'm so grateful to have such a great father-in-law!  He loves our family so much and would do anything for us; he's a fabulous grandpa and loves spending time with his grandkids.  And he's a lot of fun.


 Last year I had this idea in my mind of putting a witch silhouette in our yard.  One of Mom's friends had one that she told me about so I drove by to look at it and loved it!  It was so cool and I wanted one.  Martha Stewart had a pattern and step-by-step instructions so I decided to make it.  This is the finished product.  Turns out Mom's friend used the same pattern. 
 I had a bit of wood left over and the kids wanted to make a cat so we did that last Wednesday when they were out of school for the day.

 Finished product.  The broom actually goes the other way but I need to widen the handle to make it stay.
 Wednesday evening we headed up to McCall to do some projects on the cabin, and watch General Conference, a conference held by the Church of Jesus Christ where leaders teach and address us, as well as the Prophet and Apostles.  You basically watch several hours of television for two days, so we thought "Let's do it at the cabin" :) .
 Thursday was rainy, so we headed to Burgdorf hot springs, which we'd never been to before.  We've been to lots of hot springs up in the McCall area, but never this one.  It was constructed in the 1860's and the hot spring that's there now is the original. 
 It was very rustic, but I loved it!  It felt so good; the water was the cleanest I'd ever seen and the bottom was laid with little pebbles and rocks so it felt clean as well.  And it wasn't very busy.


 It was snowing when we got there and kept on snowing when we got into the springs.  The kids loved checking out all the pebbles and finding the prettiest ones.



 The snow on the trees blended so well with the green trees below; like a rainbow.
 I gave O some toilet paper to put away and of course he built something with it!
 Some deer we saw on a walk.  The two buck started wrestling each other with their antlers.


 at the quiet, lonely beach


 The next day was sunny and I took Jones for a run with me.  He did way better than I thought he would for a small dog; I think he was excited to get some exercise.  Then we went to a garden we had heard about but never been to.  It's not far from the cabin, but you'd never know it was there.  It was amazing; I couldn't believe the amount of flowers that were still growing, in such a cold climate.  The garden belongs to a nearby resident and invites the public to visit for free.




 I took this photo of the kids after Roo had accidently elbowed Birch.
 He was not happy.


 It was so much chillier in McCall than I thought it would be!  But the kids did great with their limited wardrobe (oops).

 Later that day Mom, Dad, Mary and Beckham came over; they brought us some doors we had bought to replace some doors in the cabin; one that had a hole in it.  Eric and Dad went biking while the rest of us had a yummy lunch and watched Tricked.
 Eric worked really hard all week on all the projects he wanted to do.  He did a great job replacing the doors, weather staining the outside trim, cutting some wood up in the backyard, and attaching some stairs to the deck.  I basically cooked all weekend.  On Saturday when conference started I made some lemon cheese danishes that I wanted to try.  We also had some teriyaki bowls and some coconut lentil soup.  Lots of rice ;)
 When conference started on Saturday it just rained and rained.  We cozied up and enjoyed being edified by the speakers and uplifted by the music.  The Church made an announcement that we will be holding church services for two hours on Sundays instead of three starting in January.  It was big news!!  Church has been three hours long for a very long time.  But the change came so that families could spend more time worshipping together at home.
Eric got out beforehand and took J for a walk.  There is a path not far from the cabin.
 That evening we headed to Cascade to see the family there.  We had dinner and spent some time together.  We saw a rainbow on our drive, dipping right into the lake.  It was beautiful! 
We left Sunday evening.  What a great trip!