This has been sitting two months waiting for pics too! Someday it will have pics :)
We had a wonderful trip last week to California. And though it was tiring in its own way, it was so wonderful to get away from my pigsty :). I had hours in the morning that I didn't even know what to do with! And we had so much fun!!
We started our drive Friday Morning. Being the responsible and health conscious mom that I am (not to mention neat and clean...), I made sure to stop at Krispy Kreme as we drove through Orem. Then I busted out the bag of super size cheetos that Jayden picked out a few days earlier. Ethan liked the breakfast I chose, I couldn't get him to stop even long enough to take a picture. I did pay for it later when I had to scrub smashed pink sprinkles, glaze, and cheese off of Ethan's pants later that day :).
We spent a laid back weekend with the family. Basically, the only thing we did beside hanging out at mom's house, was make sure we fit in trips to our favorite Vegas restaurants! :) (Again, health conscious...All my fun revolves around food!) Our first day we went to Baja fresh for lunch as soon as we got into Henderson. (Darn Utahns like cafe rio better, so all of the SL ones closed!)
I loved this restaurant called ricardo's, and was so sad 10 years ago when it closed. LITTLE DID I KNOW, there has been another location open all this time across town! I happened upon this info a few months ago, and was determined to find time to go. Mom was so kind and watched our kids for us so we could have a date on Saturday. We hunted down a few toys r us's while we were over on the west side, went to Ricardo's and then visited my FAVORITE mall. I don't know why, but I love it. It has some of the most fun stores, and I just like the atmosphere. I really enjoyed being in Vegas this trip. Sometimes I miss it more than others, and this was one of those times. I am totally happy in Utah and feel we are in the perfect, right place for us. But I LOVE some things about Nevada. I was feeling so nostalgic this weekend, and I totally enjoyed all of the familiar things that I always loved. As well as the familiar people I saw at church. It felt so good to see people who had an effect on my life as a teen. It's nice to know that though years pass with little contact, the good feelings are still there.
Of course my favorite thing about going home is seeing all of the family. I was probably a burden this weekend, because I didn't do much of anything. I enjoyed the family, and had fun just talking and watching all of the action around me. I love that my kids feel so welcomed and loved even though they don't see their Nevada cousins as frequently. And the older kids take such good care of them, especially Kayleigh!! Kayleigh loved the attention, but is such an independant little soul. She didn't let anyone hold her for long. Meg was particularly helpful, she spent most every moment with her. One night, mom was trying to sing Kayleigh to sleep, and a bunch of the kids gathered around to help her. It was very entertaining. And as you can see, Kayleigh liked it.
All of the cousins are very familiar with Disneyland and were telling us their favorite things and getting Jayden so excited about it! I LOVE to watch kids talk. I don't know why, but they say the cutest things, and sometimes I am suprised at the things they understand at their young ages. And I love to watch the good feelings between cousins. At least as far as I noticed, they all got along SO well. It takes me back to my own childhood and all of the laughs we had with our cousins.
After all of the family fun, we woke monday morning and started toward Disneyland. My dad sent us with his GPS and it was SUCH a blessing!! We used it before we even left Vegas to find a restaurant to get breakfast at. And then used it a million times to find stores and places we wanted to go. We went to countless stores that we would not have attempted without it. And got to see some places we wouldn't have otherwise. It was AWESOME. We decided to find costco in San diego, and before you know it, we were there. And even when we misunderstood her directions and made a wrong turn, it would recalculate and send us to the right spot anyway. Best. Invention. Ever. THANKS DAD!!!
And disneyland was so confusing!! Even with the GPS, it took us a few tries to actually find where we could park. It is so big and the roads wind all over the place. Finally we arrived, much to Jayden's excitement. Ethan loved disneyland, but Jayden was the only one old enough to anticipate what was coming. We got on the tram and they all thought that was a ride, we were getting off to a good start! We spent the whole time at California adventures until it closed. We got to see lightning and mater and then Jay and Jayden went on soarin and watched the bug movie, while Ethan, Kayleigh and I played in bug land. Then went on Toy Story mania. I liked that one, but it was the only substantial line we waited in the whole time we were there. Just before it closed, Jayden took me on Soarin. I loved the ride, it was amazing (in spite of my height fears :) But the best part was Jayden. He was so happy to be taking me on it for the first time. He was telling me about some of the things we'd see like the snowy mtns. Then when we saw the mountains on the ride, he was like "See, I told you about them!" and after "See, I told you it was fun." He was so accomodating, and so proud to be the one showing me something. I thought he was adorable.
In the two hours at disneyland, we rode buzz a couple of times (Ethan and I continued to ride while daddy and Jayden rode space mtn), Ethan, me and Kayleigh rode the carousel several times while Jayden and daddy rode... That turned out to be one of Ethan's favorites! After that we found pirates, splash mtn (this time we watched everyone splash while J and j went), and finally the haunted mansion. It seemed we were running from place to place to get as many in before it closed. We got there a couple hours after opening, but were still TIRED by the end of the day. But it was so magical. Even walking out down mainstreet was fun. I LOVE the look of everything. All the shops and the vendors. What a place.
Tuesday followed a similar pattern. We arrived bright and early for the magic morning. At first we all rode a bunch of the fantasyland rides together. Ethan only wanted to ride the carousel and was EXTREMELY reluctant to ride many of the others.(Okay, he pretty much cried on all of them, and through the lines.) I started using the carousel as bribe and told him that every other ride he went on without crying, he would get to go once on the carousel. That helped him get through Toad's wild ride, but he lost it on snow white and then it was only thanks to the ride operator giving him a flash light to hold that he survived pinochio...and it was touch and go. I kept telling him to shine the light on the bad guys to "get them" when his terror seemed to be overcoming him. Jayden and daddy wanted to go on toad's again, but we gave ethan a break and let him ride the carousel. He did find one other ride that he really liked. The Dumbo elephants. At first, he was not so keen on that ride either, as you can see by this face. But once he realized he could move it up and down, he was hooked. After that he wanted to trade back and forth between the carousel and dumbo :).
Another highlight for day two was the Jedi training camp. Jayden was tired and rested in the stroller with Kayleigh. But Ethan seemed very excited to see Darth Vader!! We went on the Nemo subs and then Ethan fell asleep and Jayden was so tired he begged to go back to the hotel. It was only 2! :) We agreed to, but Jay wanted to go on one more ride first. So he and Jayden walked over to big thunder mountain railroad, and I parked by the exit with the kids. That ride gave Jayden a second wind. He LOVED it, and begged to go two more times. Then they decided to go on soarin one more time and I ended up parking to watch the pixar parade. Ethan slept FOREVER. I tried to wake him several times before and during the parade, but he saw the first half through a fog of sleep and didn't really wake up till he saw buzz lightyear. It worked out well though, he did see his favorites there at the end. Jay and Jayden had watched the parade too and then went to our agreed upon meeting spot. Since I hadn't seen them, I decided to wait outside the hollywood back lot for them. Long story short, we kept missing each other and it took us about 45 minutes to find each other. Then we finally went back to our room.
Wednesday we drove down to Seaworld and it was the perfect relaxing day after all of the running around. I loved the drive. I'd never seen the ocean and it was fun to see the beach on the places the freeway got close to it. Jayden was as excited as I was. He had talked about going to the beach several times before we even left home for our trip. I was navigating the map and got us lost right off the bat, but we got to the first show (the sesame street show) just in time to meet elmo and cookie monster before going in. We didn't meet any characters at disneyland and the boys seemed really shy, but excited too. Ethan was wearing a cookie monster hoodie and cookie monster came up from behind and hugged him as we were walking away. I wish I got a picture of it. So sweet. They didn't love getting sprayed at that movie, but they survived :). We went straight from there to the sea lion show and it was so cute!! I loved the little sea otter, and the sea lions were so fun to watch, and cute when they would smile and show personality. Then we mosied around looking at all of the aquariums before going to a pet show. It was cute and the kids had fun. They had mostly cats and dogs and a pig doing little tricks. The pig hit a button that made water spray the audience. Ethan said "That's a naughty pig" We stopped and grabbed a little snack and then headed to Shamu. We parked ourselved only a few rows back, right in the middle of the "soak" zone. Jayden had talked about this several times before we left too, and he did NOT want to get splashed. We wanted to be close enough to see them really well, but I will admit I was VERY concerned about how little our kids would like getting soaked with gallons of water... Jayden could tell that we were in a wet place (maybe it was all of the people around us in ponchos... or my nervous comments :) But he seemed to want to run away and was really close to crying. We assured him it would be fun, but he didn't lighten up at all until the show started. He calmed down really quickly when the show started. It was awe inspiring seeing those whales and all they did with their trainers. Jayden was mesmerized. And he handled it well even when we did get splashed. I tried my best to cover Ethan, but he wasn't so happy about it :). Luckily, that first splash was our last and it wasn't even from Shamu. (THOSE WERE THE WORST!!) We were remarkably lucky. Three of the five main front sections (of which we were in...) got SOAKED!!! For any who have not seen the show before, apparently Shamu likes to splash people. And even when it is 60 degrees outside, his trainers and people in the audience do a sign that encourages him to splash people...Sounds pretty asinine to me! :) We did not participate in encouraging Shamu if that is what kept him from stopping in front of us, I'M GLAD! He takes his MONSTROUS tail and flips a wall of water over the people unfortunate enough to be in the path. And he never did it just once, he did it three times to the hard hit sections. It was amazing to watch how far it went, but I was thankful to just be a spectator. After all his hesitation, Jayden was hooked. We asked his favorite thing from the day, and he said Shamu, and even asked if we could go back the next day to see the whales again. I don't know if Ethan was as sold, just because he HATES getting wet, but he still seemed to have fun. We went to the kids area after that for a little while, and headed home before the park even closed. So far the weather could not have been more perfect! Sunny and warm, but not too warm during the day. And a light jacket was plenty in the evening. We took a long time getting home because we stopped at costco for dinner and some bottled water, and then stopped at the temple. The kids were asleep around this time so we decided to see how many toysrus's we could find along the way. It was pretty fun!
Thursday was Universal Studios day. It wasn't really cold, but there were clouds that lingered most of the day. We didn't do too much there either. Jay went through the house of horrors and then he and Jayden went to the terminator show. Ethan, Kayleigh and I watched the coke water fountains while we waited. They were pretty cool! At one point I let my curiousity get the better of me and went to see what looked like a control panel. It had a bunch of buttons you could push to set off different water fountains. The first few were pretty fun. Unfortunately for me, I tried all of the buttons... and the last one actually turns on a fountain right below the buttons that soaks your pants! Who ever came up with that has a sick sense of humor! Tons of people walking around looking like they wet their pants!! While I was sitting there I saw several other people victimized by the same button. I tried to warn a couple of them, but I was too late. It was a good place to sit for a laugh, I must admit :) Another funny thing I noticed later was that there were actually two little "control stands" So one of the buttons actually turns on the other stands sprayer. I was showing Jayden the buttons and had him push that one and someone was standing by it. OOPS! MY BAD...
We saw their animal show after that. (sorry seaworld, your pet show is no where near as cool as universal's) They show a bunch of animals from the movies and show how they train them. And the host was really funny. My favorite part was when they released a big bird from Evan Almighty (sorry, I sound like an ignoramus because I'm not sure what kind of bird it was :) They released it from a box behind the audience and it soared right over us! Seemingly inches from our heads. It was breathtaking seeing that huge wingspan up so close. I liked that he would tell us which movie the animals were from too, that was kind of fun. They had the little husky dog from the proposal. He's so cute!
Next we saw sponge bob on the way to the shrek show. They really liked him! Jayden seemed particularly happy.
Ethan, Kayleigh and I wandered the simpson area while J and j caught the simpson ride. Then for the highlight of the day GEORGE!! In the george play area there is this awesome ball room. There are tons of little machines that help you pick up or shoot the balls. My favorite one was right in the middle. You could dump tons of balls in there. Then you hit a button and they all go flying everywhere. So funny! I think we planned to avoid the water part of the george play area but Jayden wanted to walk through it. Then Ethan wanted to join him and daddy. They tried a couple of things that they could just spray and stay relatively dry... But before I knew it, they were running around getting SOAKED and having a blast! I was so suprised because my boys don't generally love getting wet, particularly by water getting dumped over their head etc... But it was the coolest little water park ever! Tons of levers to turn thing on and off and ropes that sent water pouring out, guns, faucets, it was awesome! In the summer I imagine you could stay there all day and never get tired of it. We took a little break in the middle to go meet george. I think this was one of the highlights for both of them. For anyone who doesn't know....my boys absolutely adore curious george. If I ever remind them it is on they drop EVERYTHING to watch it. They love his movies, his books, toys, everything! They both went up and got their picture taken with him. Then ethan blew him a kiss and just couldn't leave. So after a couple other kids stopped for pics, George came back over and gave him another hug and kiss. Ethan seemed in HEAVEN. Then I could tell Jayden wanted another hug, but he was a lot more bashful. With a little encouragement, he ran back over there. I loved how accessible the characters were! I guess there weren't that many kids there, but we could have sat there as long as we wanted with him. There wasn't that much competition for any character and we saw a lot of them around. I really liked that. (Since we saw almost NO characters at Disneyland.)
They headed back over to get wet again! At one point this monster bucket unloads over the middle of the play area. There are lots of warnings and a count down and Jay tried to talk Jayden into leaving the ground Zero of the bucket, but as he sometimes chooses to do, he ignored Jay's instructions and Jay had to save him from the downpour. I guess it was a pretty good lesson on obedience... That was pretty much the end. They were all soaked and it was clear they were getting too cold. I was afraid they would get hypothermia or something. We took off as much of the soaked stuff as we could. Then we stopped to pick up a quick souvenir and left. We went to the car, stripped them down and put them in the warm, dry jammies we had in the car. (We were so happy we had them!) Then they slept while we headed home. We actually drove a little around hollywood with the assistance of the GPS and saw some amazing houses and some kind of scary areas too :). We got back on the freeway and ended up stuck at practically a dead stop, because of a lane blockage or something. When we first got on the freeway, it was an estimated 35 minute drive to our hotel. It took us nearly two hours to go about 4 miles (that is NOT an exaggeration) I wish I had noticed the little detour button on the gps sooner. I finally did notice and we managed to shave a little time off of our commute. Our car did have a little hiccup while we were at that dead stop. It sounded like it was going to die, but then kept idling and had no more problem. We chalked it up to the fact that we had been idling for two hours and didn't think too much more about it.
Friday there was steady rain pretty much all day. I ran to walmart in the morning and picked up some ponchos. We put them on the kids and Kayleigh was not happy about it. We assumed she would get used to it and walked outside to wait for the bus to Disneyland. There was a pretty good downpour out there and Kayliegh's objections got a much more forceful. It was clear that it would not be a good thing for her, so she and I stayed at the hotel while the boys braved the rain. Even in the couple minutes outside the stroller was very wet.
They didn't get back till after 2 and though they were extremely wet and tired, they seemed to have fun. We tried to walk across the street to outback for my birthdy dinner, but the boys struggled to even go that far. Ethan's pants were wet almost up to his diaper and he cried pitifully with each step so I finally picked him up and he laid on my shoulder. To make matters worse, it was an hour before it opened when we got there. We tried to wait a few minutes, but it was just to cold for our already frozen children. So we took refuge in the red robin and played video games for a minute. When Jay's two quarters ran out we crossed the street and walked through target till four. The dinner at Outback was worth the wait...it was delicious.
We had been thinking of skipping our San diego Zoo and beach outing we had planned for Saturday because of the rain, but what happened next solidified that plan. We went to our car so we could run to walmart. But it was immediately driving so badly we were afraid we wouldn't make it. We drove to the target and parked and called my amazing uncle who knows cars. He told us it was likely a spark plug, a disconnected vacuum hose of some kind, or a plugged fuel line problem. He helped us as best he could over the phone to find the spark plug or disconnected hose. He eased our mind that at least we wouldn't destroy our car if we drove it and that it wasn't a MAJOR problem. Since we couldn't find any problem, the only other thing we could think to do was put a fuel injection cleaner in it. So Jay did and it seemed to improve things to the point that we felt it should make it to Vegas. I was so thankful because I didn't want to be stranded in LA!
We got up and out of the hotel as early as we could and started our trek back.We stopped frequently to top off so we weren't dredging up the dirty gas a the bottom of the tank and it drove pretty well. At one point, we gave the boys baggies of gummy bears to eat. Kayleigh loudly expressed her desire to have some too so I started breaking off pieces and passing them back to her. She was so funny! When she would want another one, she would yell "na, na!" or "ba, ba!" and reach her hand up waiting for me to put another one in her little palm. When I decided to cut her off of the gummy bears, I tried to give her cereal. She knew I was trying to pull a fast one and she threw it! She is such a stinker! We made it back without any problems. I was a little sad we had to miss the Zoo and the beach, but we were all so tired, it was probably for the best. And it was nice to be back early enough to visit a little more with the fam. We talked till pretty late, and then got up and left as early as we could. (Jay had to be home in time for the super bowl)
We ended up having to stop in mesquite and find a Chevron to get more fuel injection cleaner because it started really acting up again. That was our only problem. We stopped in Cedar just to top off and then worked our way home. Our kids were very travel weary that day, they were ready to be home! I was so proud of how good they had been on the trip. Especially with all of the driving we did. I couldn't blame them for being a little ornery that last day.
Jay watched the super bowl and we both spent the evening trying to relax. I think I am recovered now, but I still need to catch up on my house! Monday it took half my day cleaning the car. I had to pull out our shop vac to clean out the piles of cereal on the floor. When we were driving, I gave the kids baggies of cereal or crackers to snack on. Maybe that was a mistake, but it did keep them happy at the time. It looked like more got into the car than their mouths :). Though it ended a little rough, it was an amazing trip. I just wish we could afford to do it every year. I LOVED it, all the more because the kids loved it. :)