Monday, July 16, 2012

Family Vacation 2012

Between work schedules, sports practices, sports camps, and a mission, we found it kind of difficult to pin down some days for a family vacation. However, with a lot of planning and a little sacrifice, we did it. June 21 - 24 became the official days. Now, everyone had great plans but there wasn't a lot of time. So, what to do? Squeeze it ALL in. And we did.

First off, we drove to Provo, UT where we spent the night. We couldn't leave St. Anthony until everyone was off work. Then we visited Grandma and Grandpa in Farmington for a bit. We arrived in Provo about 10:00 and had the worst night sleep EVER. Sometimes bidding on Priceline is good. Othertimes, it is bad. It probably evens out in the end.

Early the next morning (we weren't sleeping anyway) we headed to Las Vegas. You know, there is A LOT of open space in central Utah. Thank goodness for modern technology that kept everyone entertained. Once in Vegas we visited with our AMAZING friends from St. Anthony, the Sorensons. We haven't seen them forever and their kids are big and they are wonderful and we miss them tons. We love you Sorensons!!! Adri said that is the highlight of her trip. ( I can't believe I didn't take a picture. Actually I can. It was 112 degrees there. You can't think in that kind of heat.) And good news, they are moving closer, to Ogden, in a couple weeks. Then we went to The Blueman Group. It is at The Venetian. Someday I want to live in that place.

If you haven't seen them then you should. They are an experience. The kids and Trent LOVED them. I find them interestingly fun. We left Vegas that night and drove to Rancho Cucamonga, California. We got there about 1:00 a.m. It was a long drive. But driving that stretch is so much better at night. Who wants to look at that desert? blah

The next morning we had to get up and going, again, because we needed to beat the crowds to Knott's Berry Farm. (McKenna wanted Disneyland but I'm not paying $125 to go for one day. Call me cheap! I don't care. We've been several times anyway.) Well, if you get in bed at 1:30 a.m., getting up early doesn't happen. But, we made it. The crowds weren't bad (much better than Disneyland, I'm sure) and we had a delightful time. What I discovered is that 42 years might be the cut off age for thrill rides. Poor me. It used to be spinning. Now it's everything.
Can you pick the family out up there?

This is what it was like closer to the ground.

Checking out the map and waiting for the log ride.

Happy smiling faces! Don't you love log rides?
This is the wildest, craziest ride ever. The video makes me sick. Collin, Katy, and Kenna loved it.

Food and cold drinks! Perfect pick me ups. Wake up McKenna!
Unfortunately, the train ride is more my speed. Watch out for the robbers!!!

Not family members. No cameras allowed. Wait 20 minutes. Ride 15 seconds.
0 to 60 in 3 seconds, up and over and twist and scream. Fun??!!

 After all that fun, we weren't tired enough so we planned to go to the Dodgers/Angels game. Surely we could get tickets at the gate. There are always tickets at games. So, we waited about 30 minutes in line to get into the parking lot only to discover that all tickets were sold. DARN!!! Sorry Dad. But never fear. If you can't do baseball, what is a successful alternative? Shopping, of course. The girls went to Forever 21 and spent forever while Dad and Collin drove around Anaheim enjoying the memories and sights of Dad's teenage years. But, were we done for the day? NO WAY. We hadn't even eaten dinner. So, back to Rancho Cucamonga and a stop at Denny's at 10:00 p.m. where we laughed until we cried and probably annoyed all the people around us. But, its 10:30 at night. How many people are eating anyway? Finally, we went to sleep at like 12:30 a.m. A good successful day.

Next morning, we were up bright and early and off to San Diego. On the advice of a 4 year old, we decided to go to the San Diego Zoo instead of Sea World. I'm sure both have their pros and their cons. However, the advice of a 4 year old, who said there were pink bears, may not have been best for teenagers. It was really hot and the animals were grumpy and not very photogenic. Poor things. But, we did see some fun things. I've always wanted to see koalas and pandas. And, flamingos that eat real shrimp look a ton brighter than flamingos eating shrimp pellets. It was fun and we have some good memories. Plus, the girls passed off their girls camp hike certification since it was a long walk and up a mountain. 
Seriously? A sweater? But look at those people with the hoodies. It was HOT!
Can't remember what they are but they look a lot like our dog, Buddy.
That folks, is a real panda doing panda things - eating bamboo.
For 50 cents this really loud machine will "massage" your feet.

Isn't she cute? We loved her.

Have you walked your cheetah today?
Probably ready to leave at this point. Next time - Sea World.

 We had a little time to spend before the next adventure and so we ate at the Cheesecake Factory where Katy got the most amazing hamburger ever - The Mac 'n Cheese burger. It was a big hamburger with a ball of deep-fried macaroni and cheese added plus cheese sauce poured on that. She ate the whole thing. We watched in amazement. They have delicious ice water there, too.
Not my pic. We forgot to take any here.
 Then right after we left, someone needed to use the bathroom. So, knowing that the Church is pretty clean with all their tourist spots, we drove to The Mormon Battalion Visitors Center. It wasn't only clean. It was also air conditioned. We had a nice visit there. It has been redone and it is a bit like Harry Potter meets John Wayne. We enjoyed it. Then we panned for gold and let Collin practice washing clothes on a washboard since he will be doing that for the next two years.
I cannot even say how much I love this story.
 Finally, after much anticipation, we went to WICKED!!!!! We got the cheapest tickets available, which are about 80 dollars cheaper than the tickets in Salt Lake, and the tickets didn't disappoint. Our seats were in the balcony, row DD. Now the seating in the balcony goes from A - EE. So, you can see that we were way up there. But, you could still see (if you had your glasses or contacts in) and you could still hear and you could still be mesmerized. We were! We LOVED it. Well, Trent enjoyed it. He doesn't really LOVE musicals all that much. But he liked it.
Not my pic because cameras don't work at that altitude! hahaha
The music was amazing. I think the San Diego Glinda was even better than Kristin Chenoweth andI didn't know that was possible.When it was over and the songs were firmly planted in our heads (Popular and Defying Gravity, WOW!) we drove back to Rancho Cucamonga. It was late. We were tired. But, we were happy!!!

Sunday morning, after about 4 1/2 hours sleep, we were up and going at 6:00 for the long drive home. We sang and laughed all the way. It was reaffirmed to us that driving through that part of California is best done at the darkest time of night. We had such a great time. We are so thankful for that time we were able to spend together. We have truly been blessed with wonderful kids that like to be together.

Life is Good - and time with family is one of our greatest joys.