Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 2016 on FB

November 2: Somehow this picture captures how I feel today...

November 4 [posted by Josh]: Had a lovely dinner with these beautiful British ladies last night at Texas Roadhouse. #primerib #family #sisters #welcometoidaho #accents #itsyourbirthday

November 4: Love, love this British family from Josh's mission! So glad I got to see them while they're visiting Idaho, preparing for their youngest daughter/sister to go to byui. Cheerio!

November 6 [posted by Ammon]: On the way home from church today Kala Tolman said "you know, geese are kind of like giraffe ducks."

November 7 [posted by Ammon]: Happy birthday to the guy holding that handsome fella in his hands. This is my favorite picture of us. Thank you dad for always working hard and always supporting us. You're the best dad I've ever had and not the worst employer in the world. 😉 Turned the big 4-0 today, pretty soon I'll be the one changing your diapers 😬 happy birthday old man!

November 9: I received the notification today that I passed my last college class and am now officially approved to do my student teaching in January! This was by far my hardest class and I've been over-the-top stressed since August because of it; I can't believe that it's finally done and that I made it to this point! Huge shout out to my husband Josh and my boys Ammon, Jonah, and Micah for putting up with me these last few months and for picking up the slack!!

November 10: I feel like a whole new woman today without the added stress of college class deadlines! Lookin forward to this 2-month break until student teaching begins!

November 18: We're about to embark on the longest, farthest, most expensive family vacation we've ever taken: 8 days to California, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the beach/ocean. And I'm beginning to wonder if there will be any room for our us and our bags in the car with all this food I've packed!!

November 19 [posted by Josh]: Enjoying the sunset in Southern Utah tonight. @kala79_97 #sunset

November 20: We made it!

November 20 [posted by Josh]: We're not in Kansas anymore Toto! #toomanypeople #toomuchtraffic #takemetoidaho -at Universal Studios Hollywood

November 21: Look what my fortune was inside my Disneyland park lunch today!! I was very suspicious; I thought maybe all the Disneyland Chinese restaurant's fortune cookies said that, but both of my boys' fortune cookies said something different. The fortune is definitely true, though, and I AM enjoying our much-needed vacation!

November 21: My favorite ride so far at California Adventures! Already gone twice today on it too! So sad Tower of Terror won't be in operation after January but very glad I got to ride it while it was still here!

November 22 [posted by Josh]: Favorite ride so far! #spacemountain #disneyland #toomanypeople

November 22 [posted by Josh]: Put Kanyon in the front this time at Splash Mountain and he still managed to duck out of the photo!

November 23: at Crystal Cove - Newport Coast, Newport Beach, CA. Ahhhh. THIS is the place! We've ALL loved the beach today!

November 23 [posted by Josh]: A much better way to spend a vacation day than Disney! Kanyon didn't want to leave. #sunset #covebeach #pacificocean #betterthandisney #andcheapertoo — at Crystal Cove Beach.

November 24: Goodbye Disney. It's been fun... mostly!

November 24 [posted by Josh]: Finally got the whole family in one shot! #smile #goodbyedisneyland #goodbyecalifornia #hopetoneverseeyouagain

November 25: This Thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful for a DVD player built into our car; it's been a lifesaver on this long road trip. We just finished our Harry Potter travelling movie marathon. The boys watched the first 4 films last Saturday until we reached Mesquite, Nevada to spend the night. Then we got halfway through the 6th film on Sunday when we stopped in California at Universal Studios to explore Hogsmeade and ride the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We finished the 8th movie today on our return trip just as we crossed the Arizona/Utah border. Spoiler alert: the "boy who lived" survives every single attack made by "he who must not be named"!

November 30: This was my fortune from today's school lunch! I'm hoping it's true! BTW, I like the adjective "significant"!😃

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2-Year Wish List

When we first moved into this house in 2010, there were a lot of furnishings we needed for it, but I was unable to get them all at once, so I created a long-term 2-year list to hopefully work on obtaining one item at a time until everything on the list was complete. After 2 years, I'd crossed off 10 of the 15 items that were listed. I wanted to continue working towards long-term goals, so I made a new list in the summer of 2012 with 10 new items, but only 4 items got crossed off in that time. However, we've been pretty successful at completing the items on the two-year list I made in 2014; only two did not get accomplished:

2-year Wish List (Fall 2014)
1. Replace van 12/14 (this has been on the list from the beginning!)
2. Build a garage 6/16 (this has also been on the list every time!)
3. New streetbike motorcycle 5/15
4. Put hardwood floor in family room 12/15
5. Install a light at the end of the deck
6. New couch 12/15
7. New wood stove
8. New dishwasher 3/16 (purchased out of necessity when the old dishwasher bit the dust)
9. Family trip to Disneyland 11/16
10. Couple's trip to Mexico 11/15 (this is another item that has been on every one of the lists)
Josh purchased the suburban in Rexburg without me. We picked it up on the
way back from my Grandma Rose's funeral in Utah at the beginning of
December 2014. We sold the van a few weeks later, and have never regretted it!

This much-desired garage has been a huge blessing for us already.
It was made possible mostly in part to the inheritance we received after my
Grandpa Perkins passed away. Every time I drive up and see the garage,
I feel so grateful and am so thankful to him and his everlasting gift to us!

Josh and I have both wanted a street bike for years--I'm so glad this dream
finally came true. It's been one of the funnest vehicle purchases we've ever made!

This was Josh's gift to me last Christmas. It was not a fun job for him, and
was painstakingly laborful--but it's been so nice to have in the family room, and
has felt so much cleaner since (it was impossible to keep the old carpet in there
clean with the wood stove dust, the muddy tracks from the kids coming
in the back door, and their constant food spills in there). 

We got this couch from a family in Idaho Falls that was listed on Craigslist.
We like to have upholstered couches while our kids are still young; the microfiber
ones get dirty so fast. It was in better condition than our previous sectional
(which, coincidentally, we also got form Craigslist in 2010) which was sagging 
in the couch section, and ripping on the recliners, but eventually we'd like
to have one where the recliners face the TV instead of run perpendicular to it. 

We've been planning for this trip ever since Kanyon was little.
We wanted to go when he was at least 8, and before Ammon
graduated from high school. It finally happened this year!
I loved it, the boys liked it, and Josh survived it!

This was the best vacation Josh & I have ever taken. We've been dreaming of
doing it for years, and finally made it come true last year for Josh's 39th birthday.
We loved it so much that we hope to go again next year! We recommend Playa
Del Carmen to everyone and hope to have friends or family join us next time

I'm pretty proud of all that we've been able to cross off that list! Here's the newest list of items to financially work towards in the next two years:

2-year Wish List, as of Fall 2016
1. Electricity in the garage
2. Insulation in the garage
3. Install gutter along backside of the house
4. Add a light in the living room entrance and also outside by the end of the deck
5. Get a new car
6. Pay off truck
7. Pay off suburban
8. Couple's vacation to Mexico
9. Purchase a new laptop
10. Get a better piano

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 47 (Disneyland vacation & photo overload)

{November 21 - 27}

On Monday morning, we woke up to drizzly weather again. We were originally going to wear our pink and orange shirts on the first two days in Disneyland, and then souvenir shirts on the last day, but since it was looking to be another rainy day (like we'd experienced the day before at Universal Studios), we decided to just wear whatever because it was probably going to be covered up with ponchos or hoodies anyway. We ate breakfast, got dressed, and packed up all our bags in anticipation of our items being moved by staff to another hotel room (that was closer to Mick & Jen's room on the next story up) some time during the day, and then we walked the two blocks to Disneyland. We picked up our 3-day park hopper passes, and went into California Adventures. Our first ride was Soarin', and then we met up with Mick & Jen's to go get Fast Passes together for Radiator Springs Racers. Although it was just 10am, the fast pass times were already at 4pm! We went on Ariel's Undersea Adventure with everyone, and then separated to go on rides at the Pier; we wanted to go on the California Screamin' Roller coaster, but it was temporarily closed (and stayed closed for practically the entire day!) so our family went on Goofy's Sky School instead. Then we met up with Mick & Jen's family, and Bryce & Tawna, at Mickey's Ferris Wheel. We were separated into 3 cars. Josh and I ended up with 2 random kids, but the rest of our group was split into two mixed groups. We all went to Midway Mania together next (a Woody 3-D gun shooting game). The guys were betting on who would have the highest score--Bryce won out of our group with 138,600. We all had so much fun together on that ride! We split up for lunch; our family ate at take-out restaurants at the Wharf. Aspen & Libby joined us after lunch. I waited in line at the Hollywood Hotel's Tower of Terror for an hour and a half while the kids went on the Golden Zephyr and the Silly Symphony Swings, and then they joined me in line at the Tower of Terror. It was awesome! I sat on the front row with Aspen, and gripped her arm so strongly as the ride shot up and dropped, shot up, and dropped. It was my very favorite ride! I laughed so hard, and I couldn't stop laughing even after the ride ended, so the ride attendant gave me a free front-of-the-line pass to go again because he loved my reaction so much and he told me to come back at night because it's even funner! We got on the Red Car Trolley and rode down Hollywood street as we listened to the tour guide talk about fun tidbits of info, and saying funny references (he also told us that both parks were AT capacity that day! No wonder it was SO busy!). After we got off, we headed to the Grizzly Peak River Run. We got SO wet! Thankfully, it hadn't rained at all that day, but we were prepared with our ponchos in our backpacks, and we shared the 5 we'd packed between the 8 of us. We met back up with the rest of our group at Radiator Springs Racers, but the ride was temporarily closed when our Fast Pass time was, so we made plans to go back that evening after dinner instead. Our group once again split up: Josh went back to the hotel to take a rest and to take back the rain ponchos and get hoodies for the boys for the evening. The boys, 2 girls, and I went with Tawna & Bryce on the Monsters Inc. ride, and then we walked over to Disneyland for our dinner reservation at Cafe Orleans at 5:50. We could barely walk down Main Street, USA because it was SO full of people, and it took us about a half hour to get to the restaurant. Since we'd arrived early, I requested if our group of 14 could be seated together (originally when I'd called to make reservations, the best they could do was have a group of 8 and a group of 6 at that time), and they totally could. I was so grateful! We sat and waited for the rest of our party to show up, and rested our feet as we waited. We were seated at an outdoor table, and the restaurant ambiance was delightful. Dinner was totally delicious! We had the Monte Cristo, French Onion Soup, Braised Beef Crepe, and our favorite part of the meal was the beignets shaped like Mickey Mouse that we had for dessert! After dinner, we headed back over to California Adventures to ride Radiator Springs Racers. That ride is super awesome! Then we went to go watch the World of Color Season of Light water show at 9:00 at the bay. It was too crowded in front where the seating is, so we got a spot on the backside. As we waited, everyone (but Josh & I) went on King Tritan's Carousel. The water show was so cool--it was set to music, with different projections of movie shorts in the mist, colored laser lights, water shooting at different heights and different directions, and even shooting fire at one point! After the water show, I took Bryce and Jen back to ride the Tower of Terror with me, and the boys rode Luigi's Rolickin' Roadsters (bumper cars) and then rode Tower of Terror again with Aspen and Libby. Then we walked back to the hotel after being in the parks for 14 hours--it had been a fun-filled day, but our feet were exhausted, and we were so ready for bed! We made it back to our new hotel room for the night (which was down the hall from Mick & Jen's room); thankfully our stuff had been moved for us!
Ammon on Mickey's Ferris Wheel--he was in the same car
as Jonah, Micah, Aspen, Libby, and Abbie

Kanyon, Tawna, Bryce, Jen, Sunny, and Mick were in the other car

I loved the 360* views from the top! Our hotel was behind Cars Land
behind that black hotel to the left. 

I loved the animated, talking Mr. Potato Head at Midway.

The guys making bets prior to the ride!

Ready with our 3-D glasses!

Group Selfie! When I first saw this, I said
"Somebody photo bombed us at the back". Then
Josh pointed out that it was our son Ammon
in the back! I laughed SO hard at my mistake!

I played with Aspen the first time; my score is on the left.
I was feeling pretty good until I heard what Bryce's score was!

The guys discussing their scores afterwards, and checking each other's pictures
taken on their phones for verification! 

Riding the Tower of Terror!

Aspen and Libby on the Red Trolley.
We naturally separated into 2 groups to sit on the sides of the
trolley: boys and girls. 

My boys on the other side of the Red Trolley

I snapped this pic after we had to stop for pedestrians
on the tracks--our guide informed us at that moment
that the parks were both AT capacity that day!

I thought this vending machine in the Monsters Inc waiting area was hilarious!

Walking to dinner on the crowded Main Street USA in
Disneyland. It was the first glimpse we had of the castle!
It was so beautiful all lit up!

Dinner outside at the Cafe Orleans. 

Yummy Mickey-Mouse shaped beignets!

Cars Land looked so awesome all lit-up in fluorescent lights at night!

We were happy that Radiator Springs Racers was open!

Tawna and Jonah on the carousel

The light show was better than we expected it would be!

Christmas colors!

See the animation in the mist of Tigger dancing with Rabbit? So cool!

The shooting fire was surprising!

My free front-of-line pass I was given the first
time I rode Tower of Terror, because the ride 
attendant loved my hysterical laughing reaction!

Bryce and Jen came with me the second time

On Tuesday, we got up bright and early, put on our bright pink shirts, and took advantage of our Magic Morning pass by going to Disneyland at 7am--an hour before the park opens regularly. No fast passes are available until 8, though, so we headed to the one ride in Disneyland that always has the longest lines: HyperSpace Mountain! The line was about 40 minutes long, but it's consistently 2 hours at any point during the day, so it was well worth it! Space Mountain was so awesome, and it was Josh's favorite ride! I loved his face in the photo: he was so genuinely happy! After that ride, we planned a very strategic morning to get a lot of the big rides accomplished before the park was full by noon. The boys and I got in line for the Matterhorn while Josh got fast passes for Big Thunder Railroad. He joined back up to us and we rode on the Matterhorn together, followed by the Big Thunder Railroad. Then we rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride together (similar to the log ride), Indiana Jones Adventure (another of Josh's favorites), and the Jingle Cruise (normally the Jungle Cruise but it was decorated for the holidays). The boys and I got in line for Splash Mountain, and Josh got us fast passes for the Haunted Mansion. He made it back to our line before we rode on Splash Mountain (Kanyon and I got the wettest in the front) together, followed by the Haunted Mansion (which was decorated for the holiday with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme). Josh and the younger 3 boys were getting burnt out by this point, so they walked back to the hotel for lunch and to have a break. Ammon and I stayed at the park. We got Dole Whips, went to the Tiki Room show, ate a hot dog lunch, and joined up with Mick & Jen's family and Bryce & Tawna to go on It's a Small World Holiday (once again it was decorated with a Christmas theme). Josh and the boys came back just in time for the daytime Christmas Fantasy parade. I watched it with Josh and the boys while Mick & Jen, and Bryce & Tawna went to Mickey's Toontown (we never even stepped inside that area the whole time we were at Disneyland). We met up to get Fast Passes for Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters (which was within the hour) and Star Tours (our fast pass time wasn't until 10pm!).  We all met up together to go on Astro Blasters. It has laser shooters instead of being 3-D like the Woody ride. Josh did well and got over 302,000 but Bryce blew us out of the water with his phenomenal score of 994,800 for the win! We got in line for Autopia, the mini car driving track. We broke up into pairs to fit in the cars; I was with Jonah. Jonah was a crazy driver--on purpose because I kept trying to take photos of everyone else driving and almost all of them ended up blurry because he was swerving so much! After that, our group broke up again. Our family headed over to California Adventures to finally ride California Screamin' (the huge rollercoaster). It was SO fun! It was one of the boys' favorite rides! It shoots you out fast to begin with, and there's a song playing in speakers by your head the entire ride which was a fun addition. Unfortunately, the roller coaster makes a circular loop at one point, so I was dizzy and had a headache as a result the rest of the night, but I was glad it was open so we could all go on it together! The boys rode on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree (a spinning ride), before we left California Adventures to walk to our dinner reservation a the ESPN zone at 6:30 in Downtown Disney. The restaurant was full of TV's, but nothing of interest was on because it was a Tuesday night! Bryce's twin Brandon joined us for dinner, too. After the meal, we broke into groups again. The boys, Aspen, & Libby went back to California Adventures. Josh left to go to the hotel to go to bed. I went with Mick & Jen and their younger girls on the monorail to Disneyland where we rode Storybook Land together. Then I waited by myself in the road in front of Small World for the fireworks display. I thought the boys would make it back in time, so I saved them a spot, but after they came back from California Adventures, they went the wrong way and got into a barricaded area and couldn't get to where I was. I was the only one to watch the fireworks show (also set to music and a light display projected onto the Small World building) with the fun snowfall coming out of the light stands at the finale. I met up with the boys afterwards at Star Tours to use up our Fast Passes. It was 3-D, and was Kanyon's favorite ride, but it made me dizzy! Then I walked back with the boys to the hotel to meet up with Josh. Kanyon whined the whole way, and I was so glad to crawl into bed after spending 15 hours in the parks that day!
I loved Josh's and Micah's faces!
Kanyon is ducked down in the back, btw. 

The sun was shining so bright, and apparently, looking ahead
with bright skies overhead creates the same phenomenon
in both of the twins: they instantly sneezed at the same time
while this picture was being taken! I was laughing so hard
as a result! It's funny to think that my identical twins reacted
identically to the situation at the exact same time!

Waiting in line for the Indiana Jones ride.

On the Jingle Cruise. The family next to us also coordinated
their colors: wearing orange. Surprisingly, not a lot of families
in the park color-coordinated their clothes. It made me glad
we wore pink this day instead of orange!

Jingle Ride was very punny with all the
holiday themes and jokes. I laughed at all the
tour guide's silly jokes and the obvious decorations!

Kanyon was in front, but he ducked as we went down this incline,
even though I told him not to!!

It's a Small World is so pretty! We loved the shaped hedges, too!

I struggled taking a selfie of the group in our boat! I seriously took a dozen
of them, and this is the best looking one (of everyone else except me!)

All the holiday items was a fun addition to the ride--the song "It's a Small World" was also intermingled
with the song "Jingle Bells" throughout the duration of the ride. 

Emerging from It's a Small World

We sat by Small World for the parade, too.
It's where the parade route begins. 

This song "Christmas Fantasy" played continuously
throughout the parade. I dreamed of that song for days
afterward, and became truly sick of it!

Holiday Mickey and Donald!

I liked this giant, moving etch-a-sketch in the Buzz Lightyear waiting area. 

Josh scored over 300,000 but it wasn't a match for Bryce's 995,000!

Bryce & Tawna. Her Disney outfit was so cute!

Jen & Mick

The boys showing their issued drivers licenses before we got on Autopia.
You could have a photo added to the license, and get it laminated,
but we opted not to.

This is the best photo I got of Micah and Ammon, since Jonah kept swerving
the car every time I tried to take a photo! Micah thought it was hilarious!

Tawna & Bryce and Aspen & Libby are behind Josh & Kanyon's car. 

Loved this giant Christmas tree on Main Street USA

California Screamin' was one of the boys' favorite rides!

Waiting outside to go in ESPN Zone for dinner. 

The lights projected on Small World kept changing throughout the
firework display, to go along with the music that was playing. 

Since I wasn't in front of the castle for the fireworks show (it was WAY too
crowded), the fireworks were actually to the left of Small World instead of
being directly behind it. It was still a wonderful show!

Red & Green fireworks for Christmas

At the finale, fake snow starting coming out of the light stands.
The snow was actually lightweight bubbles, which smelled of gingerbread.

the fake snow was truly magical!

It's easier to tell that the snow is actually soap bubbles when you see my hair

This was so fun, and I was sad I was all alone to experience it!

Originally, we had planned on going to Disneyland on Wednesday, because we heard that the park would be less busy leading up to Thanksgiving, so we planned on staying away on Thanksgiving and the day after. But after having two days in the busy, jam-packed park, we all needed a break and decided to go to the Beach on Wednesday and then do our last day at Disneyland on Thanksgiving instead. We slept in, and went to breakfast at IHop across the street, which was a real treat because every other breakfast on our trip was food we'd brought from home (it was the first time the boys had eaten there and they loved it). There was a lady making balloon figures by donation at the restaurant, and Kanyon asked for a minion one. She made it right by our table as we waited for breakfast to arrive. It was kind of odd-looking, but Kanyon loved it! It was a yummy breakfast, and it felt so luxurious! We walked back to the hotel, and packed up to head to the beach. We'd discussed different beaches to go to, and ultimately decided on Newport at a beach site called Crystal Cove. We caravaned with Mick & Jen and drove about 40 minutes to get there. Unlike Disneyland, the beach was not busy at all. The weather was perfect, and we had a delightful day! The beach was sandy, the water was clear, and there were interesting rock formations to climb over, too. It was the perfect break from the busy crazyness we'd had the previous two days! Jen had boogie boards that the boys tried out, we jumped the waves, we drew in the sand, went for walks, explored, and had a fabulous time together. We stayed until after the sun set; the kids didn't want to leave! Mick and Jen headed back to the hotel, and we drove to the restaurant BJ's for dinner and met up with Bryce and Tawna there (they'd ubered). I'd originally had a reservation for Rainforest Cafe at Disney District that night, but once we weren't going to be at Disneyland that day anymore, our dinner plans changed as well and we cancelled that reservation. Eating out at the nice restaurant was cheaper than Disneyland, and also had more choices. It was an excellent choice. We had a fantastic day all around, from breakfast, to dinner, and every moment on the beach in between.
Kanyon with his balloon minion that a
craftswoman made for him while we
waited for our breakfast at IHop. 

The cousins together. I made them take a picture before they got all wet & dirty!

It's the first time my children have ever seen the ocean!

Ammon & Micah trying out the boogie boards

Ammon & Micah riding the wave

Kanyon tried a boogie board

He loved the boogie board! He mastered the technique pretty quick and had
a hard time wanting to take turns and share it with anybody else. 

Aspen's turn on the boogie board. Jen & Mick taught us how to jump waves,
and that's what Micah is practicing on the right. Notice the pretty sailboat, too?!

Beach selfie

Another Beach selfie

I brought this tube to sit in the tide, but Jonah laid in it like
this on the beach most of the time!!! He loved sunbathing!

Micah playing in the sand

Libby loved writing in the sand! She wrote
her name in the sand all day! A beautiful sight!

Sunny preferred to play in the sand rather than in the water

Ammon's cool sand castle

We went for a walk down the sand to these cool rocky formations

The kids looked for sea animals in the rock crevices

We found these cool anenomes--when you touched it, it would suction on
to your finger, and it took some resistance to pull it back out. 

We also found a large bunch of mussels

This beach was so beautiful! There were old delapidated homes from the 1930's
along the shore, a sandy non-crowded beachfront, and these cool rock formations!
We spent most of the day at a location by the old homes in about the center
of this picture--right before the far off bluffs to the north of the cove.

Aspen also found this cute hermit crab

Looking south to the other end of the cove. We didn't walk all the way to the
edge of the bluffs. 

Jonah kept running, and jumping to slide in the sand

Ammon followed suit, and joined in the fun, too

Walking back to our original spot, about a half mile north

The beach got even more empty as the sun was setting, but it was still plenty
warm to us Idahoans! We were so excited to watch the sunset over the ocean!

Ready for the spectacular sunset with my
camera in hand!

Aspen and Kanyon jumped waves in the ocean as the sun set.

Most of the other kids joined in, too!

I like that the sun looks like it's in the shape of the heart between their silhouettes

Pictures don't capture it's incredible beauty!

Kanyon didn't want to get out of the water!

Micah was one of the last in the ocean, too

Even after the sun went down, Kanyon stayed in the water!

Image result
This is one of my favorite quotes, and I find it so true! I thought of it quite
often throughout that day. 

This burger at BJ's restaurant was HUGE!

It was a popular meal with the boys, too! The restaurants at Disneyland have
limited menus, and BJ's menu was many pages long so they got to order
whatever they wanted! And the food was so good! I would def. eat there again!

We went shopping at the Nike store before we drove back to the hotel.The guys
 loved it! Josh and Ammon bought new shoes, Kanyon bought a soccer ball,
and Jonah got a shirt, sweat pants, and socks.

Thursday was Thanksgiving; this was our first non-traditional Thanksgiving ever!! We spent the day at both Disneyland and California Adventures. We went on our favorite rides again (like Tower of Terror, California Screamin', Big Thunder Railroad, and Midway Mania), got Fast Passes for some of our favorites (like Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain, Soarin', and Star Tours), and waited in line for rides we hadn't ridden yet (like Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventure, Casey Jr. Circus Train, and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage). I didn't mind waiting in line, because it was downtime with people that I love! Sometimes we played "Heads Up" on our phones, sometimes we discussed life, and usually it was lighthearted conversation. I enjoyed being at Disneyland immensely! Fortunately, Disneyland on Thanksgiving was much less busy than the two earlier days we'd gone that week. Unfortunately, on the last day, every time we met up at one of the rides to use our Fast Passes, the ride would be temporarily closed. Seriously, EVERY time! It was super frustrating! We spent a lot of time waiting for our group to meet at the rides, and then a lot of time walking back and forth in between the parks as a result of the failed fast passes. We wanted to eat something festive for the holiday, since we had no dinner reservations (we hadn't originally anticipated being in Disneyland on Thanksgiving, and nothing was available). Josh really wanted to eat Turkey Legs (the rest of us had eaten them at Universal Studios) and I really wanted to try some of the foreign food booths that were set up for the holiday season. I ate mini turkey pot pie for lunch, and got everybody some eggnog cheesecake. I also tried some roasted lamb (the best thing I had for lunch!) and baklava. For dinner, the boys and I had chimichangas, corn and the cobs, and Josh finally got to eat his giant Turkey leg. Unfortunately, instead of sitting at a table to eat it, he spent most of the time eating it sitting on cement waiting for the night light parade because the rest of us finished ours quicker. It put him in a bad mood (as well as the fact that he never got to take a break at the hotel during the day like he had the previous two days at the park due to the schedule being disrupted from all the failed fast passes). I convinced Josh to stay late at the park that night (he'd always left early to go back to the hotel to sleep) to watch the fireworks with us, since everyone but me had missed it the second night. We staked out a spot (there was already no room by the castle, so we sat by the Small World ride again) and waited over an hour. However, right before the fireworks show was set to start, an announcement over the loudspeaker said the fireworks show was cancelled due to the breeze. It was the perfect ending to our frustrating day :(. Terrible, really. I felt bad, and I didn't want the boys' lasting memories to be of the worst day that we'd experienced on our final day of vacation, rather than of the awesome week we'd already had together.
Walking from our hotel to Disneyland that morning.
We decided to wear our orange shirts on our last day in the park!

We hit up Midway Mania first thing! We ALL loved that ride!

Jonah was in the same car as Ammon. Jonah beat him barely by 100!!

Josh rode with Micah. Josh's score was 106,100. Micah beat him! 

I rode with Tawna. I did WAY better than the first day--I scored 139,300 and got
the highest score in our family, but Tawna got 166,500 and was the
big winner from our group this time!

Yay for Tawna!

This was our first time in Cars Land during the daytime!

We spotted Lightning McQueen and Mater with a Santa Hat at the Cozy Cone

I'd thought about these eggnog cheesecakes since the first day in the park when
I'd read the Festive Foods menus. We were all a little disappointed in them. 

I loved the visual difference of the decorated, artificial
Christmas tree right next to the taller, more natural Palm Tree

Waiting for the Turtle Talk interactive show--downtime with cushioned chairs
and carpet was a rarity and we all enjoyed the rest for a few moments!

Family photo-op by Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse

The boys with Oswald
(or, as I liked to call him The rabbit-eared Mickey)

Ammon with holiday Goofy

Ammon and Micah with Pluto. I may have been abrupt with some people
who I thought were trying to get ahead of us in line after we stood waiting
for 15 minutes while Pluto was using the bathroom somewhere. :/

Waiting in line at Soarin'. Although it was the only Fast Pass ride that wasn't
temporarily closed, it was temporarily delayed and we waited quite a while in
line despite having Fast Passes!

Trying to make the most of our waiting time!

Large Group Photo in Cars Land. I really wanted to take a group or family photo
in front of the Mickey Mouse flowers in the grassy area at the entrance of
Disneyland, but it never happened. I lowered my expectations, and voila!

On the RS Racers ride after we went through Luigi's Paint Shop. 

We raced alongside Mick & Jen's car and barely won! It was so much fun!

We all loved the night parade much better than the daytime parade.
Even though Josh was grumpy at the beginning of it, by the time he'd eaten
his turkey leg, and the parade ended, he was in a much better mood!

Yay! Everyone is visible--Kanyon didn't duck this
time! We all enjoyed it even more the second time!

This was our last ride all together as a family: the Finding Nemo Submarine.
It was much better than I'd anticipated, and I'm glad we went!

Our waiting spot for the fireworks that never happened. Small World looked
so incredible all lit-up, though!

Ammon and Kanyon went on Star Tours once more with Bryce and Tawna
after the fireworks didn't happen. While we waited in the gift shop, Jonah and
Micah tried on hats and we looked at Star Wars merchandise. 

Two of Jonah's souvenirs: the hat and the shirt!
Micah got the same shirt, but it was gray-scaled

On our way down Main Street USA for the last time

The giant Christmas tree was even
more spectacular at night than the daytime!

On Friday morning, we woke up, ate breakfast, packed our bags, then packed everything back into the Suburban. Our plan for the day was to drive back to Utah and spend the night at my parents' home in Tremonton. There was a HUGE traffic jam in the middle of nowhere on the east end of California which lasted an hour and a half. It was awful! We ate lunch in the car during that time. We were glad to finally get out of that! We stopped in Cedar City again for dinner, and made it to Tremonton after 11pm that night.
We wised up and got a cart to take our luggage out to our
car (when we arrived at the hotel, it took us a few trips
back and forth between the parking garage and our hotel
room to get it all unloaded).

This cactus forest in California was a foreign sight from the Mountain
Forests that we're accustomed to!

The sun was setting as we drove through the northwest corner of Arizona.
It was beautiful. Kanyon said "it looks just like Cars Land!". So funny! (and true)

The boys finished watching the last 3 Harry Potter movies on the drive home.
Then they watched the 3 Hobbits after that. The last Hobbit ended about 45
minutes before we reached Salmon the following day. 

On Saturday morning, we slept in, ate breakfast at my parents' house, and finished driving back home to Salmon. The animals were SO excited upon our return! It was the longest we've ever been away from them! We got to work unloading the Suburban, catching up on laundry, going through all the mail, and making ourselves at home! It's always nice to be back at home after vacation! We were happy to have made it through the week together, and experienced all that was on our agenda!
We traveled through five states. It was the first time the kids have ever
been in Arizona, Nevada, and California. 

So glad this vehicle survived the trip-although it did have squeaky brakes from the
time we arrived in Los Angeles

We went to church on Sunday, and got back into our regular routine of things, and for the next week, I consistently dreamed of Disneyland every night! I loved being in Disneyland and Universal, the boys mostly liked it, and Josh manged to just "survive" the experience.
The angry t-shirts that Josh, Kanyon, and I got as our Disneyland souvenirs. Josh
searched everywhere for a particular Grumpy shirt, and he finally decided to get this
one. It says "Grumpy: Not just a mood, it's a lifestyle". I liked this Mrs. Potato Head
one with the phrase  "I packed your Angry Eyes just in case", and Kanyon got
one that says "Anger Management" from the movie Inside Out. He also thought
about getting one that had a mad Donald Duck on it that said "The original Angry
Bird", but we could never find it in a child's size.