Thursday, March 31, 2011


Disneyland/California Adventure Park did not disappoint. We had 3 days to spend there and filled them up well. We had the park hopper pass, so spent the first day in California Adventure, the second day mostly in Disneyland and then spent the third day hopping back and forth depending on what Wyatt was interested in.
Here is sleeping beauty's castle. WAY smaller that you would imagine. I guess it does have to fit in the park though.
We didn't meet many characters this trip. Wyatt was a little nervous about them, and I hadn't realized that you have to stand in line to meet them like you would wait for a ride. I think maybe next time we go Isla will be older and I'll encourage her to meet a princess or two, but the only characters we met and took pictures with were ones we stumbled upon as they were setting up their line, so we didn't really have to wait.

We waited to go to Disney until Wyatt was 40 Inches tall. That meant he couldn't ride about 95% of the rides whether he was interested in them or not. He was pretty nervous about a lot of them, but I think he still enjoyed himself. We tried to be completely honest with him, and Brett and I were able to have a good sense of what he'd be able to handle and what would freak him out too badly.

I was in awe of how well maintained Disney is. Obviously they see thousands of visitors weekly, and things must get worn down, but everything looks brand new. Brett and Jeremy figure they have a full time paint staff that just repaints the park constantly.
Mickey's toon town. It was unreal, you could barely tell where the real sky started.

Our two favorite rides, above is a Buzz Lightyear ride, where you have a lazer gun and shoot the alien target and Zurg.
Below was Toy Story Midway Mania. 3-D ride, where you are in a ride car, and you pull up to a number of different screens where you play midway games with your little gun. ex. breaking plates with a ball, popping balloons with darts. It is very well done! It always had the longest line though.
I got some flack for liking the jungle cruise, but the tour guide did a good job of making it entertaining with corny jokes and cheesy lines. I thought he was hilarious. The rest didn't agree with me.
Autopia. Wyatt should have been able to drive this car by himself, but he had some trouble, that and it kept stalling on us. The gas petal was difficult to press, and when Wyatt gets ahold of a steering wheel he just twists back and forth really fast. We weren't getting anywhere!
A bugs life 4D show. Wyatt was not a fan of the 4D. You watch the movie in 3D and then they squirt water, or blow air as the 4th dimension. "It's tough to be a bug" was a little intense, and Wyatt and Brett left, but they are just so clever with the things they think of. A must see! On our last day we went back just so Brett could go watch it alone while I waited with the kids.
We took turns on the rides. Brett and Jeremy would go wait in line and get a "parent swap" pass. When they were finished, they'd take over watching the kids and Chantal and I would take the pass and were allowed in the fast pass line, getting us right to the front. It is a really great system.The whole trip Wyatt told everyone that would listen about the dragon he was going to see at Disneyland. Everyone seemed confused, thinking there wouldn't be one. We looked, and looked, and this is all we found. BUT- Wyatt was THRILLED!!!
We had such a great time with the Chiu's! They were perfect traveling companions, and were interested in doing the same things. Even on days when we spent time apart, we always ended up running into each other- we thought a lot alike. It was always very comfortable, and we were happy to be together, and were o.k if we ever wanted to spent time apart. PERFECT!
We will definitely be back!

Newport Beach

Sunday we checked out of hotel #1 and drove the 2 hour trip to Anaheim. We took the scenic route up the coast, and stopped in Newport Beach for lunch. We were in a quiet little spot on the beach and just played in the sand. California really is a beautiful place. Our first hotel was located right off the freeway, and so whenever we had to go somewhere we just hopped onto this HUGE highway with 12 lanes of traffic across. The first 6 days of our trip we didn't see any communities, or really get a feel for the area- just the I5. Once we drove through some cities on the way to Anaheim, and especially when we spent a few days in Anaheim just walking around it became more of a place I thought I could spend some time.

San Diego Temple

Our pictures do not do the beauty of this temple any kind of justice, but when we went to explore temple grounds the sun had already set a while ago, and the flash/ no flash in the dark just doesn't work out well.

This temple is my very FAVORITE. We had big plans before leaving for California to go and do a session as couples by trading off childcare. Once there, we realized that wasn't going to be as easy as we had initially thought, so decided to skip it. I was so disappointed, so decided one morning, that if I had to, I was going to go by myself. Brett was super supportive, and very encouraging and willing to watch the kids while I went etc.

Chantal decided she'd like to join me, so we were able to enter this beautiful building and spend some time. Let me say, it is more beautiful on the inside! It was a highlight of my trip for sure!

That afternoon, we went to Old Town San Diego to the Mormon Battalion Historical something or other. I missed the program because Isla didn't want to sit quietly, but the rest of the crew said it was really well done.

For dinner that night we had some authentic mexican food, (one thing I was looking forward to in the states) Delicious!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Beach

The day we chose to go to the beach started off windy and COLD. We chose to visit La Jolla coves because we had read that it was quiet and kid friendly. They had some interesting tide pools that we were able to check out, and Brett and Jeremy actually took a quick dip in the ocean. The boys loved building a sand castle, and returning the washed up sea weed to the ocean (feeding the ocean).

It really turned into a beautiful day when the sun came out and the wind died down. One of our favorite days in California. Just relaxing without a busy schedule to follow.
Checking out the tide pools, there were thousands of little hermit crabs moving around. We didn't see any star fish though :(
The girls got along just as well as the boys did!
Isla helping to warm up her dad after his ocean swim. There was a seal/ sea lion ( I don't know which) that was super friendly and came right up to the shore, and was swimming really close to another man that was in the water. It was crazy!

Feeding the ocean!
My baby girl loved California. I think we better go back!
This is how the day concluded. Gorgeous!

Day 4- San Diego Zoo

We did A LOT of walking over the 12 days we were gone. On day 3 we went outlet shopping. It was a little disappointing. I had big dreams of big deals, and barely being able to fit our finds into our suitcases, but shopping with two young kids is just not that fun.

These boys got along so well! They are so much alike as well, some of the things that Jonah would say I could hear coming out of Wyatt's mouth.
It is a HUGE zoo. The map was a little daunting, and they didn't have a really smart way to see the whole thing, but in the 8 hours we were there we ended up seeing the whole thing. On the drive there I asked Wyatt what he wanted to see the most, he said the Tiger... So at the end of the day, even though Isla and I were DONE, we made one last trek to find the tiger. We got up to the 'cage' and he was way up in the top and we could only see his head. Such a disappointment!

Wyatt making sure we didn't miss the Alligators, and the tiger.

We were very happy that Isla became a good little napper in the bjorn. She was a trooper!
We were picture crazy for a lot of the trip. Brett held one and I held one. We ended up with a lot of pictures, but even looking at them now it seems like the whole vacation was a dream.

Feeding on the run, we were quite the pair her and I.

The zoo was a great day, but on the way home we asked Wyatt his favorite part... he said he enjoyed his little nap the best. These places were great, but not really for my boy. He was into the interaction aspect of the trip, so I couldn't wait to get to Disney.

Day 2- Sea World

When we decided to go on a family vacation we decided on the Southern California City Pass. It includes a day a Sea World, a day at the Zoo, Universal Studios and 3 Disney days. It was a great choice for our first trip to California, but we may skip out on the non-Disney stuff next time. Wyatt wasn't overly interested, and it made for a VERY packed trip.
We LUCKED out and were able to travel with the Chiu family. They have two kids very close in age to ours, and are just a wonderful little family to spend time with. I can't imagine a better choice. We were comfortable enough to tag along, but we were all aware that it was just fine to have some family time as well. The reason it is wonderful to travel with another family when you have really young kids is... you can trade off for rides. We were all able to go on all the rides and attractions we were interested in, and always had a companion to go with. PERFECT!
Isla was a great little vacationeer. She didn't like the stroller as much as I had hoped she would, but it turned out that Wyatt needed it more than we expected. Isla and I spend a lot of time together- her in the bjorn and me toting her around. Wyatt and his dad did a lot of fun things together too. Sea World has this great climbing area, and park. Brett was right in there on everything he could stomach. We knew before we went that Brett and I were no longer very good with rides, but we survived better than expected, and traded off riding when necessary. What a team!
The shamu show was amazing. A LOT of splashing (I don't think the trainers are allowed in the water anymore) but it was very neat to see.
A LONG day, but fun! The kids were exhausted every day of our trip. It was busy!