Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nieces in California, Day Four: Disneyland

For our last day with the girls, we decided to go to Disneyland. Because how could we not? I have never been to Disneyland or Disney world for that matter. Although I have been to the Disney World gift shop in Orlando. How sad is that? And Adam had told me years ago when we first started "talking," that he hated all things "Disney." Don't ask me why, I don't even know. I think he just wanted something to have an irrational hatrid of? But this made me figure Disneyland wasn't in our future. So I think Adam's willingness to go to Disneyland had a little bit to do with showing my nieces a good time, and a whole lot more to do with the reopening of the Star Tours rides... 

 Aww yes, the Star Tours ride. I married a geek. I knew he was a geek before I married him and that is one of the things I love about him. But for the many weeks before we went to Disneyland, all he ever really wanted to talk about was that Star Tours Ride. And I'm a really good listener and I good at indulging him in whatever his new obsession is. But man oh man, there is only so many ways to say, "that's interesting." So of course, the first thing we did at Disneyland was ride the Star Tours ride. And I have to say it was awesome! We all loved it. It was amazing how realistic it was. I knew we were safe but I swear I kept freakin' out, thinking we were about to crash into the ground and die! All you must really know about the ride is C3PO is in no way fit to be a pilot.  Once we were done with the ride, Adam built his own light saber, which is like build a bear but for boys. And he has been torturing Sarah with it ever since he brought it home.

Our next ride choice had little to due with pre-planning or excitement. No, it had everything to do with it being right across from Star Tours. And we were like, "hey that means less walking! Let's go for it." Astro-blasters happens to be my favorite ride. It is based on the Toy Story movies. You ride in these little green carts and shoot at targets, whoever gets the most points wins! I did not win. But that is because I was riding with a cheater. Every time I had a good shot, Adam would rotate the cart thwarting my efforts. Totally lame.

After realizing we had spent most of the morning in Tomorrowland, we headed down to Fantasyland. If I had to label Fantasyland's design scheme, I would call it medieval mixed with a little bit of Alice in Wonderland. The first thing we did in Fantasy Land was ride the teacups! With Kayla & Cassie in one teacup and us in another, it seemed like a good time for a little competition. I don't know how you would declare the winner of spinning teacups but we were determined to win! But if there is anyway to actually win at Teacups, Adam and I definitely lost. At what age do you become less immune to being dizzy? Because when I was a kid I used to spin around for hours in the front yard just to make myself dizzy. But being dizzy on the teacups, nope couldn't handle it.  

After the teacups, Cassie and I wanted to go to the Princess Fantasy Faire to meet the princesses. The line was very long but Cassie and I decided we would wait all day to meet the princesses. It was like we weren't even aware they weren't real princesses. In our mind, they were real princess. But my youngest niece, Kayla, God bless her heart, is not one for waiting in lines. And she really wanted to go meet Mickey! So Adam took her to toontown to see Mickey, and Cassie and I waited and waited with growing anticipation. The funny thing is the girls were texting each other from their various lines....

Aww can't you feel the sisterly love?

Kayla made it back just in time to meet the princesses, and she and Adam even met Pluto on the way back.  The first princess we meet was Moulan. I didn't pick up on this, but the girls said they got a weird vibe from Moulan. Which I just thought was hilarious. We decided it was because no one is quite certain if she is a real princess. Her legitimacy isn't as clear as say Snow White's.  We also met Snow White and Belle. Belle has always been my favorite, and I made a fool of myself gushing over her and telling her,"Your My Favourite!" So embarrassing, I was so star struck. By the way how awesome are my bedazzled Micky ears?

We were just in time for a show, once we met some of the princesses. So Cassie participated in a "princess induction" ceremony. She learned to curtsy, dance, and other princessy endeavors. After she was inducted, they wrapped a May Pole, and it was hilarious watching my 16 year old niece get so in to it. After the ceremony was done, she posted on her facebook, "I just became a princess sup."

The next thing we did was get on the "It's a Small World" ride, which is supposedly the happiest cruise on Earth. The small world ride was one of the few rides I kind of knew about before coming to Disneyland. I loved the outside of the ride, but I found the inside of the ride pretty amusing.  First of all, the song is permanently etched in my brain, and Adam was traumatized by the ride. He felt like all the children were staring at him and the song was getting to him. So for Adam, the world is just not quite short, or small enough.

Next, we headed down to New Orleans Square to ride the Pirates of Caribbean ride and see the Haunted Mansion. Pirates was so great and didn't disappoint at all. It had a few surprises along the way and Jack Sparrow looked so life like that it was freaky! And the Haunted Mansion wasn't so much scary but more more like funny/interesting scary. The funniest part was at the end of the ride because Adam was riding in his "dooms buggy" by himself and there is a part where a holograph of a ghost appears on top of you, and because Adam was riding alone it looked like he was sitting next to him. So he just put his arm around him as if they were long lost buds.

Other than the Star Tours ride, the only other thing that was a must do for Adam was the Indiana Jones ride. Now Indiana Jones is a ride I can get behind! And that was the craziest, most exciting, pee your pants ride of the day. I mean I really thought I would be crushed by that boulder or thrown out of the car! But I was most worried about losing my bedazzled Mickey ears. I loved those things.

These are only some of the highlights of the day believe it or not, I know this post is already way too long and I couldn't possible talk about everything we did. But it was a fabulous day. And Adam and I loved it so much, that we got so wrapped up in what we were doing that we were late meeting the girls after they were doing shopping (yeah, we were totally riding Star Tours again).  We are so going back. Having the girls out here was an amazing family trip for all of us and dropping them off at LAX was hard. But I'm so hoping they can come back next year.  I'm going to end the post with just some of our  favorite pictures that really didn't fit anywhere else.

Song of the Day: Something There from the movie Beauty & The Beast

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nieces in California, Day Three: Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier Entrance (Sign from Forest Gump)

The End of Route 66

Beach and Pier

Cassie on the Beach

Kayla on the Beach

Pacific Park on the Pier

Cassie and Our Kite

Kite Way Up High

Bird and Sun
On our third day in California (which I like to pronounce CAL-A-FORN-NI-A), we hung out at Santa Monica Beach and Pier. Most people know Santa Monica Pier, even if they don't know they know Santa Monica Pier. It is constantly pictured in movies and TV shows. And it is one of the locations Forest Gump ran to when he decided to just keep running and running and running.  I was excited to go there because I love the beach and it was listed on my California Bucket List. But what I didn't know is Santa Monica is officially the end of the famed Route 66!

Santa Monica beach is gorgeous and so much better than the beaches in Long Beach, if only because I didn't get stung by a sting ray while I was there. Cassie and I spent a lot of time in the water, while Kayla hung out mostly on the shore. The water was a little cold but the longer we were in it the better it felt. I purchased a boogey board and had fun riding the high waves in and floating on it near the shoreline.

After some beach play, everyone decided to head up the the pier. There are a lot of fun things to do on the pier. There is a mini-amusement park with a Ferris wheel and roller coaster. Tons of goodies to eat like burgers, funnel cakes, and snow cones.  And of course places to pick up souvenirs or get a psychic reading if you are so inclined (I was not). I had the best funnel cake for lunch that was topped with strawberries and frozen yogurt. And the girls played some games that are typical amusement park fare.

Later on in the day, we decided to head back to the beach and do some kite flying. We used the Toy Story kite that Adam had given me for our cotton anniversary. The kite has a cotton string, dig? The kite was very easy to get off the ground because it was so windy. But Cassie and I decided the kite just wasn't high enough. I had brought along some yarn just for that type of emergency. We tied the end of the kite to the thread and let it rip. The kite was so high in the sky that you could barely tell what it was! I was even a little worried about it messing with airplanes (however I'm just really neurotic). When we finally decided to bring the kite in, I swear it took us over 20 minutes to get it back. That was quite possibly the best kite flying experience ever.

Cassie and I left the beach badly sunburned, while Kayla just looked more like a a Hawaiian beauty. Curse my fair skin. But it was a fantastic day at the beach regardless!

Song of the Day: In Christ Alone by Owl City

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nieces in California, Day Two: Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm Entrance


Kayla & Cassie @ Knott's

Snoopy is Happiness

Screamin Swing....Barefoot

Train in Ghost Town

Saloon in Ghost Town

The Silver Bullet

Ketchup at Johnny Rockets

Me, Cas, & Kay on Carousel
I gave the girls a choice of what they wanted to do for their second day. I had several options picked out, fabulous options. Trips to San Diego Zoo or Safari Park and shopping. But no Adam decided to stomp all over my well thought out plans and suggest Knott's Berry Farms. And of course they jumped on Knott's Berry Farms. But I didn't really mind because I wanted them to do what they wanted for vacation.

Knott's Berry Farm is one of the oldest theme parks in America and it has lots of themed areas like the ghost town, the fiesta village, and the boardwalk. The girls and Adam rode many of the roller coasters but I'm kind of a wimp, so I just rode safe rides like the Mexican Hat Dance (like the teacups at Disneyland except you are in a sombrero) and a Carousel. Nothing can happen to you on a carousel right? Unless your horse stops at the highest possible height and you nearly fall off jumping from it. True Story.

For lunch, we ate at Johnny Rocket's. When we walked into the restaurant, the staff was doing a dance to "Working at the Car Wash." And while they were giving it their all, I couldn't help but feel just a tiny bit sorry for them. At Johnny Rocket's, we filled up on shakes, burgers, and cheese fries before riding a few more rides and leaving the park. But not before walking through Camp Snoopy and meeting none other than Schroeder from the Peanuts. He was always one of my favorite peanuts.

After leaving Knott's Berry Farms, we went to Dave & Busters to play some games. And we played a ton of games! Trivia Games, Deal or No Deal, Basketball games, Racing Games, and Football games. We all earned a ton of tickets. Kayla also had won a stuff banana in one of those crane games. We spent the rest of the trip torturing Mr. Banana when Kayla would be in the backyard talking to her boyfriend. We would tie his neck with some thread and dangle him out the window as if we had hung him just to get a rise out of her. And then we would repeat the process, but this time Uncle Adam would hold a pizza slicer up to him as a threat. It was incredibly silly but so hilarious. No one could stop laughing.

Song of the Day: Rhythm of Love by Plain White T's