Monday, January 11, 2010

California... Day three & four

I have got to get this vacation done! Okay, day three and four were relaxing days, since we did not go to Disneyland.

On day three after eating our marvelous wal-mart cereal in our hotel room, we took the kids to a 10:30 am showing of The Princess and the Frog. Josh likes to show the kids movie previews on the computer, and they have been watching the Princess previews for months! Claire is especially into Tiana, but Levi had a good time too. By the way, 10:30 am IS the time to go to a movie! Only $6 a person!

After the movie and another fabulous lunch provided by wal-mart (pb&j sandwiches) we decided to go swimming again in our hotel pool. The weather was great, but not great enough for outdoor swimming! Josh and I mostly stayed in the hot tub, while the kids ran from pool to hot tub and back again.

We decided to eat dinner that night at our hotel, rather than venturing out to the many restaurants in the area. It turned out to be a mistake. Dinner the previous night was amazing with great margaritas. This one did not come close. Oh well. But we did discover from our server, that we were within walking distance to a bowling alley. We thought that would be a fun way to cap off the evening.

We get there, get our shoes, our balls and get all set up. The kids had a blast. Josh and I had a great time. There was music and a great atmosphere and things were going perfect. We even contemplated playing another round! But, it was getting late and we decided it was time to start walking back to the hotel. Josh went to pay the bill while I changed the kids shoes.

When Josh came back, he looked a little worried, or concerned. I asked what was the matter and he then told me how much we just spent on bowling one game. Forty-two dollars. That is right: 42.

Nothing is wrong with the number 42, in fact, for all you Hitchhiker fans, you know it is THE number. However, it is not a good price to spend on a 30 minute bowling game. Especially a game where nobody broke 90 points. For the record, I am a WAY better bowler on the Wii.

Here is our one video from the bowling alley. It was super dark, and this was all I could do so you can actually make out the people. I just thought Claire was cute and funny.

Each time after they bowled, both Levi and Claire would lay on their stomachs and watch the very slow progress that their ball made. It was really cute.

So the next morning, day four, this is how we found the kids. Levi is reading the building manual to a Lego set that my brother James gave him, and Claire is looking at her Princess and the Frog coloring book.

We had good plans for day four! Our good friends from Seattle, Shauna and Brannon, are in LA for Brannon's residency. Shauna came to pick us up in the morning and spend the day at their house. Their daughter is only a couple months older than Claire, and Claire, as you can see in the next picture, was ecstatic to have somebody dress up with and dance with.

Levi chasing Rio.

Near the Orton's house there is a small aquarium dedicated to rescued sea life. A big bonus is that it was free the day we went! Even though this was our one day of rain, the kids still loved the hands-on exhibits and the enthusiastic and attentive staff.

After the aquarium, we drove by the beach (they are within walking distance to a beach!!) and checked out some fancy houses in their neighborhood. We took the kids back to their house to play and Brannon got off work early to hang out with us. Shauna was able to rope two girls from their church to babysit all four kids, so the adults went out for a night on the town! We had dinner at a Thai restaurant and then dessert at a French one. They even took us to Trader Joe's to pick up some snacks! It was wonderful seeing friends, and hearing our husbands talk "doctor talk!"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

California... Day two

Levi's birthday was the 28th, which was our second day in California. Since it was his birthday, he was able to get in free to Disneyland that day, our first day in the park.

We awoke early, 6:30, because Disneyland opens at 8am and, according to my soon to be sister-in-law, the lines start early. She was right. We got to the ticket line around 7:30 and it was already busy. After waiting for maybe 20 minutes, we got into the park and headed to Adventure Land. This is where the Indiana Jones ride is. Luckily Levi is really tall, so he was able to go on all the roller coaster rides.

Josh took Levi on Indiana Jones first, while Claire and I did the River Boat ride. Then we switched.

The next big ride was the Matterhorn. Josh took Levi, and since Claire wasn't tall enough, we walked to Snow White's castle. The line to see the princesses was so long! Luckily, Claire is not into that, so it was not an issue.
The best part of the day was Levi attending the Jedi Training Academy. See previous posts for his video.

After Jedi School, lunch, and an hour wait in the glorious sunshine, we boarded the Nemo Submarine.

It was around 4pm when we left the park for our hotel room for a bit of a rest. We walked through Downtown Disney where there are LOTS of neat shops and restaurants.
Of course, we had to stop at the Lego store, where both Claire and Levi spent all of their Disney money.

After a failed attempt at a nap in the hotel room, we headed back to Downtown Disney for a birthday dinner. Of course, Claire fell asleep in the stroller on the walk over, but Levi, was awake and excited. We found this great restaurant where they made amazing margaritas. Josh has been attempting every night to re-create them since we got back! I don't mind being the guinea pig; he is getting really good!
At the restaurant there was a balloon man making gifts for the kids. Here is a video for proof, that boys are always boys.

After dinner we went back into Disneyland for more rides and fireworks. Little did we know, people start saving their spots to view the fireworks hours before set off time at 9:25! So this is a rushed picture of the castle at night. There are Disneyland employees ushering people by as to not block the view of the people who reserved their spot! So we did not see the fireworks that night. Instead we thought we would catch some rides. Of course, Claire woke up and was crying uncontrollably, and Levi had to pee every 10 minutes.
This is Josh's brief view of Fantasmic, a show that starts at 9pm and ends right before the fireworks. I was taking Levi, then Claire to the bathrooms...

Levi and Josh did manage to go on one final ride that night, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Claire and I could see some of the fireworks from where we waited for them.

During our exit from the park, along with everybody else, I did something that so far, I do not regret.

As I said, Claire was crying hysterically since she woke up. She cried for the fireworks to start, then, once they started, she cried because they were too loud. As we were leaving, she was still crying when she said "Why did the fireworks stop?"

A young male adult walking near us heard her and said to his girlfriend "if my kids ever ask stupid questions, I will slap them, then they will learn to stop asking stupid questions."

I gave the guy a nasty look, but he did not see me. His girlfriend did and as they passed by my left, she did look a bit embarrassed. Then, to my delight, they decided to cross the path by cutting right in front of me and the stroller. Seeing this, I hurried up just a bit, but enough to ram the guy in the shin with the front of my stroller.

That should teach him to not make stupid comments regarding child-rearing in front of parents.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

California... Day one

Finally, some posts about our vacation!

Since we used airline miles and airline credits, the family split up and flew separately to Las Angeles. Josh and Levi arrived first. They explored the area and found a restaurant to eat dinner at. Claire and I arrived shortly after. We each had great flights with the kids with no major problems.

The first day, Sunday, we hung out in the hotel, checked out Disneyland (we were about a 1 mile walk from the park entrance) and went swimming in our outdoor hotel pool. Later that afternoon my brother and his fiance came to pick us up for a late lunch and to take us to the beach. Here are some photos.

The Hotel:

Outside our hotel on the way to Disneyland:

Huntington Beach. Totally a beautiful night.

My bro and his girl:

Day two to come soon!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

He defeated Vader

I will have to do several posts on our vacation to California and Disneyland, but this seems like a fitting first one. Every time I ask Levi what his favorite activity or ride that we did, he always says "fighting Darth Vader." So, for all you interested readers, here is the story on how my Levi fought, and defeated, the evil Lord Vader.

On the morning on December 28th, the Knight family awoke with a strange sensation. One of their members had undergone a transformation during sleeping hours. Upon awakening, one of them stood a bit taller, looked slightly older, and, just maybe, matured during the night. That person, Levi, had in fact done something remarkable. He turned five. The remaining family members sang a rowdy version of "Happy Birthday" to the newly-turned-five-year-old and we all ate breakfast. The plans for the day were simple: enter and conquer Disneyland.

Things were going well. Then, at 10:30 Levi was chosen for the ultimate birthday treat. Here are the pictures and video to document Levi's encounter with the dark side.

**warning** this post contains a long video with some occasional nose picking.