Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feliz Cumpleanos to Joey

August 1 is Joe's birthday. Happy birthday, dear Joey. I've been waiting to use the picture below for a year. I couldn't find it last birthday, but found it shortly after. It sat among the other icons on our computer desktop for most of a year and then mysteriously disappeared a few days ago. I found it in the recycle bin and rescued it just in time for birthday posting. Wasn't he a cute baby?

And now he's my handsome husband. Hope you have a wonderful birthday, sweetheart!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Land o' Disney

Last week we drove to the Golden State to introduce Emma to the Magic Kingdom (and to her new first cousin, once removed). But first, we jump back in time for a patriotic jumper shot. Here is Emma in July 3rd regalia (Joe's folks got this frock for her). She was the red-white-and- blueiest in the whole Junior Primary.

Okay, so we drove to California. We left last Sunday afternoon (after 2/3 of the block, which made us feel devout but also like we were getting away with something) and stayed overnight in St. George. Then drove, drove, drove to California. The roads get worse the minute you go from Nevada to California. Also, Barstow is not an attractive city.

Monday evening we visited my niece Julia, her husband Chris, and their fabulous firstborn, Claire Julia. They live in Fullerton, a mere hop-and-skip from our Super 8 motel. They live close enough to Disneyland that they hear the fireworks go off every night at 9:30. My sister Julie was also there, visiting from Washington and attending to the needs of her baby bunny and bunny's baby. We ate Chinese take-out and admired the living daylights out of little Claire. She is indeed a cutie-patootie. So much fun to visit!!

The next morning it was off to the H.P.o.E. In a stroke of familial kismet, Joe's brother Mike and family had planned (without previous consultation) to be at D'Land the same two days we were there. They live outside Phoenix and this was their 6th visit in less than a year (they have an annual pass, the luckies). So maybe not so coincidental after all, since they visit ALL THE TIME.

Anyway, it was so stinking much fun to tag around with them. Uncle Mike is an absolute whizbang of a Disneyland guide. He knows where to go, how to get there, how to FastPass through the long lines, and he wastes no time in accomplishing his objectives. We scampered, scampered, scampered to keep up with him. We met them at the parking lot shuttle on Day 1 and got to the park before the gates opened. It was so snoozy we were the only ones in front of the big sign.

Things got hopping pretty fast, though. Em was a tad shy with her cousins at first, but after we all went on Star Tours together she loosened up and stuck with them for the next two days. Below you see Abbie, Sarah, Emma, Elizabeth, Max and Mary.

Mary was her special pal and they spent a lot of time together:

On our first day we did Star Tours, Space Mountain (made me want to hurl), Splash Mountain (loved!), Indiana Jones, Winnie the Pooh, Haunted Mansion, rode in the canoes (and got absolutely drenched on account of Emma's nonstandard paddle technique). Then we went over to California Adventure for various attractions. By this time it was hot and I was tired (but Uncle Mike was not). Joe took Emma and Mary on the gigantic ferris wheel. Ferris wheels give me the frights. I'm glad I didn't go; Joe said it was really scary (and he ain't the scareable kind). They were in one of the cages that rocked waaay back and forth, kinda sideways. I found a tiny patch of shade on the boardwalk and ate a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar while they swung around with their eyes closed.

Here's a couple of pix of the group on Splash Mountain:

Mike talked Joe and me into going on the Tower of Terror with them. You're in this elevator car that suddenly drops 130 feet. I was sincerely anxious as I waited for this ride to get going, but it wasn't quite as bad as I thought (helps to keep eyes closed 100 percent of the time).

We also did this fun animation class where an instructor taught everyone, in incremental steps, how to draw a Donald Duck face. (But I think it would be hard to be a cartoon instructor teaching 50 groups a day how to draw Donald Duck...)

We went off-site for pizza dinner, but then Joe and I took Emma back to watch the fireworks. Oh my, what a spectacular extravaganza, complete with Tinkerbell and Dumbo flying around in midair. There were absolute hordes and masses of people watching. The lines for the parking lot shuttles leaving the park were as long as lines for the rides. Emma was thrashed. She fell asleep immediately in the shuttle.

But she rebounded after sleeping hard for a few hours. Here she is, rebounding, the next morning (you must click to enlarge):

On Day 2 we did Splash Mountain a few more times (see soggy cousins below). Apparently it broke down after we'd ridden it about four times in a row. We walked by a few minutes later and saw people standing around on top of the mountain, looking bereft. We rode the Thunder Mountain Railroad a couple times, too (really fun!).

My vote for best snack at Disneyland: The Dole pineapple whip float, a yummy blend of pineapple juice and pineapple soft-serve ice cream, topped with an umbrella and a cherry. Most refreshing.

Aunt Suzette and I took Emma and Mary to Fantasyland to do the spinning teacups and It's a Small World, etc. Then the cousins had to leave to drive back to Arizona. Oh! It was so much fun to do Disneyland with them. Thanks, you guys!!

On Thursday, we slept in a little bit and then went to Newport Beach for a few hours. Em splashed in the surf and dragged big hunks of seaweed around (she got a big kick out of that), and we had corn dogs and lemonade from Jane's Corn Dog Shop.

Friday, we headed back to St. George and had dinner with Aunt Susan and Uncle Jack, and Saturday (today), we drove home. Fun, fun trip. See big smile below:

And if my mention of "Small World" didn't get the tune going in your head, maybe this will help!