Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cali: Wrap Up and Re-Entry

      Oh, re-entry, why are you so hard?  To be fair, re-entry has been made slightly better by the fact the girls have slept til 9:30 or 10 the last two days from sheer exhaustion and time-change.  So, that has been nice.  It was a great trip, but traveling with little friends is always a little more tiresome than traveling with adults.  Plus, we are heading back out of town for my baby sister's wedding this coming weekend.  I went grocery shopping last night and basically just bought milk and a little fruit, since there is no point to having real food on hand when we are about to leave again.
      Here are some random pictures that didn't fit into any posts.  I went running twice (John ran twice as well - I feel like we deserve a prize) while in Burbank, which was really wonderful.  (well, the landscape was wonderful, I am not a wild fan of the running, though it is beginning to grow on me a bit more.)  I actually looked down and realized there was an orange on the ground, that had fallen from the Orange Tree I was running under.  Why are there no fruit trees in the green belt I live on?  (another first world problem.)  The other pic is the view from our elevator - we were chilling at the Holiday Inn on the 17th floor.

Picnik collage

Here are the girls during/just after their naps in the hotel room on the first day.  Naps always sneak up on Lily when she is in the middle of something.  I would fall asleep if I were reading that phone book as well.



And, here's a cereal bar crime scene from the morning we were leaving.  I didn't realize it would be quite so messy when I handed it to Bella.


This next picture pretty much sums up how our trip home went.  Bella had used up most of her "good juice" the rest of the week and was over it all.  That said, she really wasn't that bad, just super squirmy, squawky and sleep-fighty.  By the end of the last flight, Lily was asking if she could go take a nap.


Though the girls had a slightly rougher time, the travel was still some of the smoothest we have ever had.  I had no need to yell at anyone (like that ever happens), and we had all of our bags and all of our flights were on time.  Can't beat that.
      As it is almost time to ring in the new year, I am trying to sort through what things should change in our lives and hearts.  There are always so many, and it can feel a bit overwhelming to set real goals.  I am praying the Lord leads us to the things he has for us to learn and grow in this year.  2011 has certainly been a great year, though it has brought with it its fair share of heartache.  I used to wish that heartache would never touch my life, and in fact, I lived as though it couldn't or shouldn't for many years.  Now, I know that God uses that heartache to help shape me and remind me that life here is not the end-game.  The heartaches remind me that heaven is waiting for me, and that is where we will be truly fulfilled.  I am so thankful for the hope of Christ, and I am thankful for the ways it has been manifested in our lives this year.
      Peace out, 2011.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cali: Day by the Water

      We spent our next day near the water and enjoying more of what Southern California is known for.  The girls enjoyed playing with Grandpa after breakfast at Noah's New York Bagels and Crazy Eyes made her first appearance of the day.

Picnik collage

Then, there was lunch at In-N-Out.  Yum - though why anyone would need this amount of fries is beyond me.  Bella slept through the whole thing, and we told her about it later.  She was sad to have missed the giant fry tray.

Picnik collage
Picnik collage
Sweet Lily, then more of crazy eyes.

Next stop, Malibu, or as we like to call it, Malibooyah.  It is so gorgeous - seriously, and it felt like we were in a crazy time-warp since it was Dec. 28th, and we were hanging out on the beach.  There were tons of seagulls and bets on who would get hit with droppings.  Fortunately, we all avoided that fate.


We tried to get Bella to walk, to no avail.  She is getting heavier all the time.

Picnik collage

Lily didn't want to be set down on the sand.  I think she had forgotten how much she used to like playing in it.

Picnik collage

One of the highlights of our whole trip was when we were watching John's dad, Lenny, dig a hole in the sand.  Before we realized what was happening, he was hopping into the hole, fully clothed, and asking to be buried.  Lily, in particular, thought this was a great plan.

Picnik collage
Picnik collage

Then, the beach gave birth.

Picnik collage

Remarkably, he cleaned up pretty well.  The hardest part of the clean up was getting the sand out of his back pockets.  His plan was for John to hold him while he balanced on the wall and Sharon helped clean his pockets out.  This was almost as hysterical to watch as him coming out of the sand.

Picnik collage

It was a gorgeous time with perfect weather, and we very much enjoyed it.



We headed to Santa Monica and did dinner on the Pier at Bubba Gump's, and then took in the ferris wheel.


And then, our little family was over it.  Lily was ready for the promised funnel cake and was not having another picture, though we took it anyway.  I wonder how we will both feel when we look back on all these pictures.  I think it will be pretty funny.  It is actually pretty funny now, because I feel that you either have to laugh or cry, and I usually choose to laugh.  (usually)


Vacation sure is fun, but it is definitely trying for the little ones.  It was a great last full day in Cali.

Cali: Day at Disneyland

      Well, I love the Disney parks, so it was only natural that when given the opportunity to take our girls, I would be first in line.  I have also always wanted to see a Disney park during the Christmas season, so I was doubly excited.  And, it lived up to all the hype.  It was magical.  It was Christmasy and got even more so in the evening.  However, all of the magic comes at a price.  On this trip, that price was enjoying the park with 67,000 other people when a normal day at Disneyland only brings in about 40,000 guests.  It was packed.  Fortunately, we had our doublewide baby mover to clear our path, but it was still mind-numbing to realize how many masses of people we had to get through to do anything.  It was also the press day for the Rose Bowl, so things kept being blocked off so that football players could do photo opps with the news crews.  Crazy.  That said, we had a great day, but I would definitely avoid the week between Christmas and New Year (and much of the holiday season in general) in the future.
      We started our riding on the Jungle Cruise, because the line was relatively short (30 minutes), and I knew the girls would love it.  They did, and Bella's oohhing and aahhing over everything was truly delightful.  Lily took it all in rather stoically, per our predictions.

(our entourage - John's parents and sister Rachel and her boyfriend, Drew)

Another ride we got to enjoy was the iconic Tea Cup ride.


And then, Dumbo.  Lily got to go on this one twice in a row, because Rachel and Drew, had ended up going in the next group.  This was Lily's favorite ride.


We managed to sneak in a ride on the train, from which we could take in some of the hordes of people.


We ate lunch in Fantasyland and caught a glimpse of Rapunzel and her long hair, but as the wait time was 75 minutes, we forewent the opportunity to get a picture with her and settled for seeing her walk past our table.  By this point in the day, Bella was quite worn out and ready to nap in the stroller, as indicated by her rubbing her belly button.  We have realized that that is her official signal to tap out.


After wandering through Tomorrowland and taking in another ride, we made our way to the parade route and got some Mickey shaped treats.  (always one of my favorite activities)  We also took pictures with the castle.



This series of pictures should give you a good indication of how the girls felt about the Mickey sugar cookie.  Lily gave most of it to Bella and then showed us her "Crazy Eyes" again.  They made many appearances on this trip to the delight of everyone.  The parade was magical (as you can see by my face).

Picnik collage

By this point in the evening, we were pretty worn out, but wanted to hit a few more attractions before calling it a day.  The Nemo submarine ride is truly amazing, and I was reminded of how many times I have heard that movie in the last year to recognize every line in the ride.  Then, we headed over to It's a Small World, or as we will call it from here on out, It's a Small Fiasco.  (John also said it could be called, "Small World, Long Line.")  It is beautifully done up in Christmas lights for the season, and we had heard that the inside was also tricked out.  The line said it was only going to take about 45 minutes, so we trekked on in.


After being in line for well over an hour, holding the dead weight of our young children, and Lily finally giving in to sleep, the line split, and we had the misfortune of picking the wrong line.  The line that the handicap access fed into.  The line that came to a standstill multiple times, enough to where the little boy in front of us starting asking all of the questions that I had in my mind about when it was ever going to be our turn.  When our turn finally came, we tried to wake Lily, to no avail.  The pictures tell the story, especially the one that is not staged where John and I are gamely trying to enjoy hearing Jingle Bells mixed with It's a Small World.


As we were leaving, John said, "When I break my leg, the first place we are coming is Disneyland.  And, we will get to go on every ride before everyone else, and it will be awesome."  As we left the park, we took in the beauty of Sleeping Beauty's castle decked out in lights, and the lights and the tree on Main Street.  I really do love it there.


As we saw the castle, and I was remarking on how pretty it was, John said, "The beauty, the splendor and the wonder - they remind me of something.  Your face."  On that note, I knew we were a little over the crowds and ready to make our way out of the park.  The girls were out before we got out of the parking lot.
      All in all, it was a great day to spend time with family and experience the wonder of Disneyland with our girls.  Though we didn't do a single "big" ride, we had a great time, and I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to be able to do this.  It was magical.