Monday, January 27, 2014

Lazy Day

 Going to the beach was the perfect after Disneyland crazinesss activity.  :)  We drove to the Newport area on a recommendation from Jed's sister Katie.  I had pretty much been to the same beach every time I've been to California and by what she told me, it sounded different and awesome.
That first peek at the ocean was pretty exciting!!^^
 The Newport area was definitely super nice.  It was gorgeous.  I even unexpectedly saw the newish Newport Beach temple off the side of the highway.
 The weather was gorgeous, and there was hardly anyone on the beaches.  To us, that is perfect!
 Beautiful scenery.
 Madelyn caught a glimpse of the first sea life....she found the tiniest crab I've ever seen.^^  That is it above, it is that black dot in the picture.  I had to give a size comparison next to my foot.  It was so little and cute!!  Gotta love those "Christmas toes"  all of us girls had.   ;)
 We settled down at a little beach called Shaw's Cove.  It was absolutely perfect for us.  Lots of sandy beach, but then there were rocky areas with tide pools for the kids to explore.  Best of both worlds!!
The beach was so perfect for Claire, who the day before pretty much had to be in the stroller or carried all day.  She could run free!  Plus it was so nice because she loved to run out to the water, but as soon as she heard a wave coming she would run back to shore.  So nice.  :)
 A little glance at our landscape. ^^
 And then there was sand digging.^^
 Perfect beach scenery.^^
 We found this starfish, then as we looked around more....they were everywhere!!  Totally fun!
 Hannah holding a pretty purple one, which we uneducated beach folk learned later we shouldn't have done.  :)
 Beach creations^^ vv

  Poor Lily was not feeling good that day.  She had thrown up at our hotel's continental breakfast.  She was completely lethargic for a few hours.  Then we tried hydrating her more, and she perked up.  She still wasn't too sure about those starfish.
 Life doesn't get much better than this for an 18 month-old.^^
 We packed a picnic lunch for the beach which was basically taken over by seagulls.  We had to gather our stuff up quicker than quick because those feathered creatures were set on scoring big on our lunch.
 Claire claimed these beach creations as her own personal pool after the waves filled them with some water^^ vv  She pretty much wouldn't let anyone else use them.  It sure was nice to have a safe place for her to splash around.
 Drew and Madelyn enjoyed body surfing. vv  Especially Drew, he was out there for quite awhile.  I helped Lily play out in the water.  vv
 Everyone had a ball out there, not that you can tell by Claire's face.  vv
I think some of my kids would vote for the beach over Disneyland!  Hannah isn't in many of these pictures because she became fast friends with some children there.  It was so fun for her.  
What a perfect slow, beautiful, sunny day after a busy day at Disneyland!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

California, here we come...

We just had to take a picture of what it looked like as we pulled out of the driveway:
We had a pretty good drive, I love driving.  Our children do pretty well with driving too, I wouldn't go so far as to say they love it....but they do well.
One of my favorite things is just watching the landscape change.  The earth is beautiful, and I don't like my kids to watch that much TV in the car because you miss way too much.  They just have to witness what an amazing artist Heavenly Father is.  It's beautiful.
First stop, Saint George.
We stayed in a nice Fairfield down there with a nice heated pool and hot tub area.  That felt good, but the weather was still pretty chilly there. 

We loaded the kids on the extra bed like sardines, it didn't last long.  At least 2 children would decide it was better somewhere else.
Claire loved having phones readily available.  ;)
We stopped at this beautiful place before hitting the road again.  I love the Saint George temple!  I think it is so beautifully bright white against the blue sky and the red rock.  So beautiful.
Taking in the surroundings.
I love those squatty short palm trees too.  They are my fave.  It was so fun for our kids to see the palm trees.  I think they might love them as much as me!  They loved that we had one right outside our window of the hotel we stayed in too.
We took an opportunity to touch the temple, to feel of its sacredness even on the outside.

President Monson shared a story from Elder Mathew Cowley, who took his granddaughter on a birthday outing.  They didn't go to ice cream or to the zoo, they went to the temple grounds where he had his granddaughter touch the temple.  President Monson said, she touched the temple, and the temple touched her.  
I hope that when my own children touch the temple, that the temple will touch them.  That they will know, in some small part, what significance this holy building holds.

So beautiful!
We spent a little while inside the visitors center, and then it was on the road again!
Through a majestic canyon....

Quite incredible.
And then through what seemed like endless desert....this was a potty break.  ;)
We arrived in the afternoon, checked out our new hotel, and went to dinner at IHOP.  
Then baths and a good rest, because we were going to hit Disneyland hard the next day.
And here we are!!

Definitely excited!

This was our little system of keeping our precious sweeties, Lily and Hannah, close to us.  Some people thought we were crazy, others thought we were geniuses.  With the record numbers of people that were in the parks that day, we sure felt grateful for those little ropes that kept our children safe and accounted for.
Disneyland Christmas magic!
Jed and I split up first thing in the day, I took Drew and Madelyn and he took Hannah, Lily, and Claire and lots of fun smaller rides.  I thought since the park was still relatively empty I was going to take Drew and Madelyn on my all-time Disneyland faves!!  We started with Space Mountain!!  They wanted to sit next to each other:
That is them in front of me.  Oh yeah, it was just as good as always and I was whooping and hollering behind Drew and Madelyn the whole time.  It was a great ride.
Then when we got off, I was so excited to see how they loved it.  
Madelyn was in tears, and Drew seemed a little unsure.
It didn't even occur to me, to break them in at all.  You know, start with the scariest, fastest, and the one that is completely in the dark, right?
Wrong.  :)
So we took it a little easier and went on these:
Oh yeah, a little more gentle....
I love the citrus trees.  I would love the convenience of those!
Of course the castle...
Next up:  Splash Mountain.  It's pretty gentle....for the most part.  I was focusing our conversations on how gentle this ride was for the most part, except for one place where you drop.  Well, then they conveniently have it written on the walls in there warnings about the 50 foot drop.  I think Madelyn got a little weak in the knees after seeing that sign.  So I did my best to reassure her, and help them enjoy it.
On our way!  I held on to Madelyn during the big drop and whispered encouraging words to her the whole time.  We went and looked at our picture, and there was Drew and I with a look of enjoyed excitement and then Madelyn's face of sheer terror!  It was so sad!
We talked it through, and she decided she still wanted to stick with us, so we decided to go on it again.  The second time isn't as scary because you survived once and you know what is going to happen.  
So here we went again!
Yeah, I love Disneyland....
This round of Splash Mountain was a lot better.
We ran into Jed and the other girls, and got a few snacks, then were at it again!
We waited in line for the Matterhorn for over an hour, and had gummy sucking contests while we waited.  I won, every time.  :)  Madelyn did like the Matterhorn.  So that felt good to go on something that she enjoyed!

We went on the tram.  That was pretty fun!
We met up for lunch, and then went on a family ride.  That wait was crazy long with all of us and Lily and
Claire were not keen on standing in line any more.
Then the younger 3 and I broke off and took it easy, Claire had fallen asleep in the stroller.  Hannah and Lily and I ran into several Disney characters.  Lily wasn't warmed up to the idea of standing by them for picture taking.  So here is Hannah with all of her new friends:

Lily thought Santa was o.k.
Lily decided Santa would be o.k.
Then after seeing Hannah by Minnie, Lily thought that she could get in too.
Then here she is with Jessie.
We followed this band until they stopped marching around so we could sit and listen for awhile.  Hannah was getting blisters on her poor little feet and they needed some rest.
At dinnertime, we all met up again and hit some more rides. 

Jed got Drew and Madelyn to go on the Indiana Jones ride, I never thought Madelyn would have been convinced!  Now it's one of her favorites!!  Funny how time cures some things......   :)
The night got long pretty quickly, the kids were wearing out, so we decided we better go before they were totally crazy.  We headed out about 8 pm, it felt like 11 pm.  We were all pretty worn!  Good stuff!
It was a great day of Disneyland.  Such a fun place.