A little hiatus

Service is spotty where we are, but I WILL catch up eventually!  :) 

Thanks for all the nice comments you all.


Day 4

A light saber battle broke out in our hotel parking lot on the way home. :)

Minnie’s Breakfast

Garnet told us that he was just "practicing" to drive a real car. Grace and he were excited to have their own licenses.

This was essentially a digital player piano - Grace was chosen to demonstrate it on stage.

And Garnet was chosen to play this "player" guitar on stage as well.

Garnet watching his favourie Star Wars character - Darth Maul.

Grace went on stage at the BBQ and Show to dance to the "Bear Neccesities" song.



Today involved a bit of drama, but in the end we all wore smiles on our way out of the park.  ’nuff said.


Okay.  Mostly it involved misplacing some children, finding said children and then hugging those same children verrrry tightly!

Okay.  That about covers it.  :)

(Oh yeah.  Interspersed with all the drama, were very frequent tours of each and every washroom in the great Land of Disney.  My kids have their washroom radar down to a science.  lol)


And here are the photo highlights from today:

“I flying!”




Day 3

Fantasmic!  Quite the controversy over that show.  Would we wait for 4-5 hours to get the best spot, ride some rides and then dash in about an hour before the show statrted or ignore the whole thing and pretend we’d never heard of the show at all.  Such was the controversy in our family for much of the afternoon and evening.  We ended up ducking in a half hour before and saw the whole thing and the fireworks that followed.  It was definitely worth taking the time for. 

We took our time for most of the day.  Pirates again.  The Hollywood backlot in California.  Character Autographs. James and I did Indy (I love that ride!  It was payback fair and square for James’ beloved ferris wheel ride yesterday.)  The four kids went on Splash Mountain by themselves! if you can believe it.  Talk about brave kiddos.  The three youngest bought themselves some cool new mouse-ears too. 

We had a slower pace, but it was a really great day.

What’s a trip to Disney without the Jungle Cruise and taking cheezy photos of the same plastic animals that were there since before you were a kid?!


Asleep at Dinner…


...and dozing on the riverboat.


These Mousekeeters are utterly and completely ready for bed!


Day 2

I might as well be honest about yesterday.  A ride finally brought me to tears!  For real!  The Swinging Gondolas on the giant Mickey Ferris Wheel put me over the edge.  Stephen put us up to all going on it and I agreed.  I hate ferris Wheels to begin with.  We were walking down the ramp towards the stationary gondolas that don’t swing and I took one look at James’ face and knew he wanted to do the swinging one.  You know the look.  So, I turned us all around and we waited and waited and finally got on one.  Yes – it is as bad as it sounds. You swing on rails and tip forward and back so you can see the ground way down below or worse yet, the water.  I think I have  created a whole new fear in my daughters.  sigh

Going up! This ride was off to a poor start. I was happy to see the ground!


Watching the princesses come in. Her whispered comment to me: She really talks!

Ariel is a favourite with the girls.

Jumpin' Jellyfish! No fear.


All 7, I mean 6 of us – sneaky Mr. Potato Head!

The ride my daughter Faith now fondly refers to as the “Tower of Death”.


A happy note to end the day.


Now that I’ve been so honest about my least favourite endless eternity moment of the day, my highlight was riding the tube ride in California park.  James and I were on each side of the doorway to the tube.  We got soaked and then we got drenched as we were all chuckling about how wet we were.  Too funny!  I could tell the two young ladies who shared our tube didn’t know what to make of us at first, but by the end we were all howling!

 Quick Edit to add:

Garnet told me after a ride, “That one was fine Mom. I wasn’t scared.  My body was a little bit scared though!”

Grace let me know that she was, “Almost scared after Pirates.”


Day 1 – Can you guess where we are?

These 3 all built light sabers. Of course, a battle broke out!

Hey Grandma & Grandpa H. He finally got his churro!
So hot, but enjoying the relaxing carousel.
James and Faith’s 4th time on the tea cups! They took Dad this last time and – hey look! He’s still smiling!
We can spin Mom fast!
We went to Garnet’s favourite ride, Dumbo, first. There were some nerves at first and then it seemed like our newest member was ready to dive in. She loved it!
Grace wanted to see the castle most of all on this trip. So glad to be here once again.

 Unfortunately, I appear to still be posting my photos backwards.  You can click on them to make them larger. 

Yesterday was HOT!  We were still nursing sun burns from San Francisco so the sunscreen went on thick and often yesterday.  We even bought one of those over priced mister-fans and it was a life saver for these northern creatures.  Everyone got a bit of what they had hoped for yesterday, but it was a bit of a tough day as we chose to do Fantasyland first and then a couple of other rides just for the shade. We wanted to warm up Grace to the rides before taking her on the faster ones.  Unfortunately, the sun was most intense in these areas so we definitely got overheated.  Quite a change from Oregon.  lol   

Garnet had a chance to ride Dumbo and build his Darth Maul lightsaber so he was thrilled!  He’d been talking about those two things for a whole year now (quite an accomplishment for a 4, then 5 year old!). 

Grace had a few nerves before a few of the rides (flopping her foot back and forth nervously or chewing her cuticles), but then she’d come off smiling and asking to do it again.  She cowered a few times in a dark part, but she liked the speed and the characters.  She had been really looking forward to seeing the castle and so she was all sparkly eyed walking through it.  She was a concerned when we bought her a sun hat and not the micky ears, but took it quietly.  Se tends to be a bit more, ummm, outspoken, when she doesn’t get what she thinks she deserves, so this was interesting.  I know she’ll be tickled when we get to a bit more shopping.  She was surprised when we bought her a lightsaber though.  She likes to be able to tangle with the boys – not timid that way! 

Faith really enjoyed some of the character type rides – like Alice in Wonderland, but she clutched my hand during the Matterhorn.  She LOVES the fast ones, so I can see her ramping up the more we go on.  Faith was the hottest of us all yesterday, being so fair, so we had a job making her drink water all day.  She is so fun to be here with.  Such a treat to walk around holding her hand and chatting.  

James  got a bit of the short end of the stick, but he Garnet were ride buddies a lot and you could see the delight that James got from watching Garnet enj0y things.  He also helped Garnet build his lightsaber and that was a cool brother thing to do.  He got his churro!  Apparently he and Gma and Gpa H. had spent a LONG time looking for one last trip and so when we found a booth yesterday, he had to have one!  We even waited 5 minutes for them to cook .  Nothi ng was going to stop him from having one.  hehehe  Stephen and he got fast passes for Space Mountain for 10:55 -11:55 last night. They took the rest of us back to our room and then went back for more fast rides.  I was so glad James had a fun end to his day.  He’s still sleeping or I’d ask him how it went.  

Stephen and I were hot and happy.  It was so neat to see the kids enjoying themselves and for the ones who’d been here before, to see them remembering things. Stephen is a good planner, but the heat made for quite a few detours.  I ended up getting a migraine and went straight to sleep after we got back.  Fortunately I had brought my migraine meds and I’m feeling like my normal self this a.m. 

Well, off to wake the rest up and get going again!  


On the road again…

Starting off this morning – the bottom photo is one of the bridges (not the Golden Gate as we passed it on account of fog and took a shorter route) heading into the Bay area.  I took a bunch of scenery photos from the van today (mostly through a dirty window!).  We drove for about 7 hours and aside from some freeway accidents, thankfully the GPS and the good old road map kept us on track.  Such a variety of scenery in one day – even some dust devils.  The photos are posting in revese order (backwards) so if you want to see them in order, start at the bottom and work up.

Steve would like me to note for posteritythat:  He got fingered twice by the same guy in Oregon for being too slow and got spoken to by a CHiP officer here in CA for driving too fast (5 miles over!).  Actually both times gave us a good laugh.  The guy in OR sped past us only to exit on the slow scenic route (huh?!)  and the guy from CHiPs spoke to us by speeding up alongside on his motorcycle and using his loudspeaker to inform us of our speed.  We all nearly jumped out of our skin! They make for good stories though.  :)


Camping Weekend (Part 2)

James could make his off road and do tight curves. He was quite good at it!

Our bike gang. James really loved these bikes and Garnet called his bike “his race car”.
Along for the ride

The last of the photos from the weekend.  I really can’t say enough about how well this camp was laid out.  It was like summer camp for our whole family!



Camping weekend (Part 1)

 Alright.  It wasn’t your typical camping trip.  We were camped across a field from a freeway (albeit we hardly heard it) and the campsite was like a mini city.  It had a jump pillow (cool trampoline), a large pool, outdoor movies at night, fun banana bikes, ice cream, a challenging playground, climbing wall and petting farm.  We all had a hoot, got quite sunburned and slept really well at night!  Grace had her first swim with us, first s’more and first sleep in our “tent-house” as she and Garnet called it.  What a fun weekend!


Jelly Belly Factory Tour

We toured the Jelly Belly factory.  It covered everyone’s checklists of favourites: processing tours, silly hats and candy samples.  :) 

James’ favourite part:

Trying out the “Bean Boozled” jelly belly beans.  Head’s up!  They aren’t at all what they appear to be.  I’ll leave the rest for him to explain in person, Grandma H.  lol




Trees, trees and MORE trees!

We woke to the mid to end phase of the coastal storm and decided to push on south. 

Welcome to Trees of Mystery and the (In)Famous Baul Bunyan Statue!

As we were going in to this tourist trap site, James told me: I don’t like the look of that statue. As we left, the “speaker voice” coming from the statue told us: You all travel safely!  Faith turned to it all flustered and yelled:  You’re the crazy one!  We’re not sure exactly what it was that she thought she heard, but  James suddenly noticed that the statue was winking at us.  We all left shortly after in a pile of nervous laughter.  I think the rain is getting to us. 

Lovebirds under the cathedral trees.

7 minute sky gondola ride up above the tree tops many feet in the air.

The view straight down...

Not much of a view, but at least we finally got a family photo!


More wild ocean waves.

As we entered the Somoa Cookhouse, we noticed this warning on the outside of the building...

We ate at a Logging Camp Cookhouse which was established in 1893.  Delicious, bountiful family style meals.  Lots of antiques and great photos.  Opportunity to tell the kids some stories and history from my side of the family.  Built on stilts over the ocean.  Bathrooms that reminded me of a plywood ferry bathroom.  Fun experience and great memories.

Avenue of the Giants

Mailing postcards at a tiny post office in the Redwood Forest.

We DROVE through this tree with our van and trailer!

I have the video to prove it!  We had to pull in our mirrors and inch through millimeter by millimeter (Can I use two systems of measurment in the same sentence?), but we made it!  $5.00 US well spent for the hysterics it brought on. 

Linked to her brother by ipod, the kids are doing well.

More Salt Water Taffy creations.
In the hotel jacuzzi – an improvised swim for tonight.

 Tomorrow we head further south.  We caught sight of a hint of blue skies as we drove into this town tonight.  It looks nicer as we get farther south.  Looking forward to drying out!

Hint of clear skies ahead.