Thursday, December 8, 2016

 Oakley's birthday was November 13th, and he turned 6.  Can't believe it!!  We celebrated it a day early because we were going out of town the next day.  Oakley opened his presents in the morning. He got some really fun gifts, including a scooter and a Jurassic World lego set.

 Later that morning Aspen and I met up with Ami, Mary and Annie for some Christmas bazaaring.  It was great; its always fun to have some girl time.
Aspen scored this for free.  So cute!!  When we got home we found Oakley and his friend Tucker working on his Lego set.  He and Eric had started it in the morning but once Tucker showed up the boys took off all on their own.  They literally spent all day putting this together, and by the afternoon had finished.  I was really impressed!

 Later that evening we met up at Uswirl for some froyo with Eric's side of the family.  I'd say it was a great birthday for this guy.  Oakley is growing up so fast!  He is learning so much in school and enjoys learning his letters and reading.  He still loves to build anything he can, and one of his favorite things to do is crafts at home with his mama.  Sometimes he will come up with his own if I'm out of ideas!  He can be quite the button-pusher with his siblings (reminds me of a certain uncle of his....) kid in more ways than one!! We love you buddy :)
 The next morning we got up early and headed to the airport.  We were going to Disneyland for a week; we actually left on Oakley's birthday...lucky kid!  (Get ready for a serious amount of photos folks!)
 Once we landed in L.A. we grabbed a rental car and headed to La Brea Tar Pits.  On the way we passed THE See's candy factory.  Heavenly hosts!  Next time we will stop!
 La Brea has a multitude of wooly mammoth, sabertooth tiger and dire wolf bones that have been recovered from tar pits that existed during the ice age.  Just up Oakley's alley.

 ....sorting through animal bones and shells...the kids were at this table for a long time.
 A tar pit.  It was fun.  I'm glad we went.  But let's face it, we were anxious to get to Disneyland.  We headed there around 3:00 and ate on the way, and also picked up some groceries.  By the time we got there we were so ready for some fun!
 We checked into the hotel, then headed out for some dinner and Downtown Disney fun.
 Lego store
 Eating at Storyteller's Cafe.  I love this restaurant; such a wonderful ambiance and a delicious buffet.  O got a cupcake and sung to for his birthday.
  The next morning we went to California Adventure.  We got in line to enter the park and the kids were really excited but shocked that we had to stand in line before we even got inside!  We had a little talk; I told them that we were going to do some really fun things on our trip, and that standing in line was all part of it.  However we could still have fun even in line; I had downloaded a book on my phone for the kids and started reading it to them.  We chose to go on our trip the week before Thanksgiving because we have several friends that have gone that week in the past and recommended it for shorter lines and to see the park decorated for Christmas.  We actually had reasonably short lines the entire trip except for our last day.

 We split up and Eric and the kids ran to Radiator Springs racers (which always has a long ride unless its the first hour of the day) while B and I hung out riding Luigi's Tires and Mater's Jamboree.  The lines were so short we just went back and forth between rides over and over again.  It was really fun and B loved it.  He didn't come with us the last time we came to Disneyland so everything was new to him.

On Radiator Springs racers

 I really love Cars Land.  It's so cute and looks just like the movie.  Around lunch time we headed back to Disneyland to get on some of our favorite rides, mainly Pirates and Haunted Mansion.  Oh yeah we saw Cruella Deville on the way.

 It's a Small World was closed the last time we came, so we headed up there too.  It was really hot on Monday; 94 degrees!  So the kids went and laid in the shade while we were in line.  Eventually a few other kids joined them.
 Its a Small World was so over the top; really amazing with all the Christmas lights and decorations.  I really wanted to ride it again before the end of the week but we could never make it work.
 Here's some photos of us playing:

 There was a band playing behind us while we rode the carousel.  Really neat.

 Storybook land

 Its a Small World at night.  So pretty!

 Mr. Toad's wild ride.  It was a great first day.  Got to do most of the rides we wanted, no break downs and everyone's feet were good :)  Crazy enough the last time we went my feet were so sore, and I was wearing tennis shoes and this time wore flip-flops!
 Tuesday morning was foggy and cool.  I took this shot in the morning...really love it.

 Buzz Lightyear....B really loved this ride.  I think we did it about 4 times.
 Roo loved it when she got to ride by herself.
 We went on Nemo's Submarine which was closed last time we came.  It was a cute ride; Disney does some amazing things.  I'm always blown away by the magic it can create.  I got off the ride muttering "how'd they do that?"
 We split up later and the boys were able to meet Chewy.  Our kids aren't Star Wars fans, but they know enough about it that they were excited when they met any characters.  Eric and I were laughing at this picture of him and Chewy.  The photographer had them hug....such a tender moment :)

 Waiting for Autopia, which the kids loved.

 Oakley was so excited to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  It was also closed the last time we came, and look behind him...dinosaur bones!!  A fast train ride, dinosaur bones...perfect for him!  He loved it.  I actually rode this with the kids later in the week at night when it was dark, and it was pretty awesome.  The way it was lit up was really neat.  I really felt like I was in the old west somewhere in Utah.
 Roo riding splash mountain.
 She says its her favorite ride ;)
 The kids really wanted to go swimming from the moment they saw the pool the day we arrived, so we went back to the hotel and took a little break.  The weather wasn't really warm enough to go swimming, but the kids didn't notice and they had a great time.  I thought I had more photos of the pool but it looks like they are all videos.
 Watching cartoons in the lobby
 I had heard that the hotel always puts up a beautiful Christmas tree every year, and had asked the night we arrived when the day would be.  After being assembled all through the night, it was finally done on Tuesday morning.
 After swimming we got dressed again and headed to Downtown Disney for dinner.  Eric was anxious to get a family picture in the park with all of us in our Disney tees, so we rushed as much as we could, but after eating and getting back into the park it was dark.
 It worked out though...these turned out pretty cute.  We decided to get the photo pass this time, which gets you photos taken by Disney employees with great cameras for a great price.  I'm so glad we did!  Definitely worth it.  Plus you don't have to ask fellow tourists to take your picture.

 A little Star Tours.....Space Mountain was really fun too.  They had redone it from the last time we were there; it's always been one of my favorite rides.

The kids didn't mind the roller coasters, but they did mind the loud noises.  Through several rides they would hold their ears like this.  Sillies!

Sleeping Beauty's castle
 Aspen and the Marie kitty she chose for her souvenir (from Aristocats).
 This might have been one of Birch's favorite parts of the trip.  He thought these hand dryers were the best.
Wednesday was my favorite day of our 4 days in the park.  We got to California Adventure and spent some time in Cars Land again.  

 Hanging with Lightning Mcqueen

 This time I went on the racers ride with Aspen and Oakley while Birch played with his Daddy.  He's not tall enough for the ride yet.  He's still about 2 inches shy to get on several rides.  I told Eric we need to wait until he's 40" before we come back.  Radiator Springs racers is a lot of fun.  You can see Aspen holding her ears again.

 with Mater
 And back to Luigi's Tires.  There were plenty of things for Birch to do even though he's still little for some of the rides.  He could have ridden this ride all day.

 Love this one of Roo.  Cracks me up!
 Back on racers
 Getting a bit it going to rain?? I kept thinking it might but it stayed dry.

Later we went to the Redwood Trail, which was AMAZING!! And so much fun!! I don't know if it was there the last time we went; basically its an amazing park for the kids to play in and explore. Chip and Dale met us there..... :)

 There's a ropes course

 Rocks to climb
 even a little stream for the kids to splash in, which was next to a cave....

 There was more to do there too, and we went back later to see it.
 We had to leave though to watch a Frozen production at the Hyperion theater.  We saw Olaf on the way.....
 The show was amazing.  The set, the costumes, the special effects...all really good.  It lasted about an hour....basically a shortened version of the movie.  Really great.
 Then we went back to the Redwood Trail because Santa was there.  In the most plaidest, countriest of settings.  Loved it!  One less thing to have to do in December ha.

 Saw this guy....not sure who he is?  Eric knows but I can't remember.  Anyway we were walking around and all of a sudden I heard and saw this:
 Mickey in a trolley with Newsies, singing away.  I could hardly believe it!! Eventually they got out for a minute but really just rode the trolley through the area singing.  I can die a happy woman ;)

 Minnie, who was smitten with Birch.  She saw him several times that day and snuggled up to him each time.

 By Grizzly Rapids, which I didn't go on.  Too cold a day to get soaked!  Eric took Aspen and Oakley, but Aspen got the most wet.
 Here we go with Minnie and Birch again......cute.

 I get headaches and vertigo when I go on intense roller coasters, but Aspen seems to love them so she and Eric went on California Screamin' together.  Though Roo did say it was a little too intense.  I tried it once years ago and just didn't enjoy it.  My favorite ride of that day though was called Soarin' over the World.  It used to be Soarin' over California but now it takes you around the world to places like Egypt, the Matterhorn and Paris.  You are suspended in midair and in front of a huge screen, and feel like you really are soaring over these amazing places.  It made me cry!  We live in such a beautiful world.
 We stopped for corndogs and soup with sourdough bread bowls for dinner along the pier.  We felt like we were in San Fransisco.  Maybe the best dinner we had too.

 On the ferris wheel.  They had to stop the ride while we were on it so we got stuck up there for a while.  Not the worst place to be!
 Cars Land at night
 Just pretend 52 isn't there
 Eating treats at the Cozy Cone.
 Back to the hotel.  A large gingerbread house they were working on while we were there......

 That night we watched World of Color from our hotel.  There's a secret balcony that you can view it from, so we came back in time to watch it there.  They played Christmas music during the show...pretty magical.
 Last day!  Crazy busy there.  Really crazy.  Probably a good thing because it helped us ready ourselves to leave.
 Casey jr. Circus Train
 ....being wild circus animals.

Disneyland band.  So good and so fun!  They played some great tunes.
 After spending the morning in the park we took the monorail to the Disneyland Hotel to eat at Goofy's Kitchen.

 Playing inside the hotel before lunch.  They had a cute little Christmas room setup there.

 We saw lots of Disney friends.

 We also so the wicked queen from Snow White.  We saw lots of villains, and they all stayed in character.  The wicked queen was especially cranky.  She threatened to throw Oakley into the Small World ride where he'd have to sing the same song over and over again forever.
 One of the coolest things we did was sign Aspen and Oakley up for the Jedi Training School. You drop them off for about 20 minutes before a Jedi show starts and they get a costume and some training by Disney staff, er, Jedis.

Meanwhile, the kids' families have a seat in front of TomorrowLand's theater, along with anyone else who wants to watch.
Then the Disney actors come out, as well as the Jedis in training.  They are part of the show. Towards the middle of the show Darth Vader and another female from the dark side appear, and each small Jedi must fight them, one-on-one.  
 Oakley and Darth Vader
It was so neat!  I love that the kids were the show, and they had such a great time.  The staff are so great with the kids.  They eventually use the force to push the villains underground and save the day.
 Aspen with Princess Tiana
On the Mark Twain Riverboat.  The kids got to blow the horn on the boat.

 At the Golden Horseshoe.  I remember loving this place when I came as a kid.  We got sundaes and watched the show.

 We spent some time at Tarzan's treehouse before the Christmas Parade was about to start....
 and got another family photo.

 The parade was really fun.  The floats had a 1980's down home theme to them, which reminded me of my childhood.

 After the parade fake snow appeared everywhere (in the form of bubbles) and you could hear everyone say, "Ahhhh!"
 Then we headed back to the hotel.  Bye bye Disneyland!

 Our view the morning we left.  The hotel was CRAZY that Friday morning; I'm so glad we were checking out that day and not in!
 We grabbed another rental car and headed to San Diego.  Eric's brother Danny lives there.  We stopped at the beach so the kids could play for a bit, then met up with Danny, Shelby and Ellie.

 We had Mexican food for dinner that night, and then went to bed.  Phew we were tired!!
 The next day we all went to see some sea lions.  We walked along the coastline and chatted.

 There were so many pretty trees at the park, and everywhere actually.  I would have loved to have known what kind they were.  The kids loved climbing on this one.

 The kids were standing here a bit later looking at the water and got sprayed pretty bad.  Birch found out and had to join them so he could get wet too.

 It was great to see Danny and Shelby.  After sandwiches, ice cream and a great walk, we headed to this pretty beach called Moonlight beach.

 It was huge, with a large playground for the kids.  Sadly, before we knew it it was time to head to the airport.
 Everyone had to hug Ellie goodbye.

 The flight was good...we got in about midnight.

 A few days later I went for a run and boy was it a foggy morning!  Really cool.

 I went to see my hairstylist the other day, Josie.  I really like her a lot.  She's only cut my hair once, but I decided to let her cut my hair off by about 4/5 inches and color it, which I haven't done in 13 years.  I wanted a natural, caramel highlight (like an hombre, bayalage look), but came out with something much more blond and noticeable!  At first I wasn't sure about it; the day following I almost set up another appointment to have her darken it, but decided to give it more time.  I like it now.
(I don't know how to take selfies with a normal expression!)

 Aspen had her first piano recital last weekend.  She played two pieces, and even though she was nervous played them really well.  I was so proud of her!  Her wonderful teacher, Sally, is in the back row on the right.

 Some of the kids' artwork.  Birch made this turkey at preschool.

 Birch's tree.

 B at Fred Meyer the other day.  "Look what I can do Mommy!"
 We're getting some snow this week!  Got some on Tuesday and it's really pouring down now.  Eric took this shot when he dropped Roo off at school.
 The boys after playing in the snow.
 The green space behind our house.  I took these when B and I walked to preschool the other day.

I don't know that I'd ever seen a frozen spiderweb before.  Pretty amazing.

1 comment:

Bethany Fegles Photography said...

What a FUN vacation, Chelsi!! I had the kids come sit and look through your Disney pics with me. They loved it!! :) It looks like you went at such a great time of year! I love the magic of the Christmas lights mixed with Disney - so beautiful!
My favorite part of your post was when the Newsie's sang on the trolley! Soooo perfect and so Chelsi!! :)

I'm so excited to get our families together next summer! I know our kids will love being together.
Love you lots!