Tuesday, March 27, 2012

girls only road trip! part 3

Alrighty, so here is the final chapter in our California adventures- Disney! We didn't have time and couldn't afford to take the girls to Disneyland but I just felt that their first trip to Cali just wouldn't be complete without at least a little Disney magic!

On Sunday night we headed to downtown Disney for dinner and to see the Disneyland fireworks.

While we at Downtown Disney- we introduced the girls to pin trading! They LOVED it. There aren't as many employees with pins Downtown as in the parks, but we found a few. One of them was busy when we came up to trade with him, but the girls waited patiently for a chance to look at his lanyard- which really paid off! Apparently, Mickey wasn't far away and saw how grown up and patient the girls were being, so he told the guy in his "special Disney ear piece" to let the girls take any pin they wanted without having to trade one of theirs! Lucky girls!

The girls had a great time, but it had been a loooooong weekend for them and they crashed hardcore on the way back to the hotel. Meoldy woke up about 5 minutes before we got there, screaming and crying because she needed to go potty but her brain was so tired that she couldn't make the words come out of her mouth. :( I felt so bad for her! Both girls slept super hard that night- which was good because the next morning we headed to Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel for a character breakfast!!

We immediately spotted a photo op in the lobby, with the goofy statue!

We got there a little bit early, so we popped into one of the souvenir shops, where Jessica bought Mel and Beth some Minnie Mouse ears! (You know a Disney experience isn't complete without ears!)

What else was awesome about the Disney portion of our trip? We met up with Aunt Amy and Aunt Lara!

They are so awesome! They were in Cali for Disneyland and were nice enough to bring us out some delightful Dole Pineapple Whip on Sunday night after fireworks and meet us for breakfast on Monday morning!

After what seemed like forever, it was finally our turn! The first thing they do is take you in to meet Mickey and get a family picture taken! This was the moment of truth- we weren't really sure how Melody was going to react to the characters... she doesn't have a very good track record with people in costume- including Santa- but she did great! Both girls loved it from the get-go!

Then it was time for breakfast!

The girls loved the bendy straws that came with their orange juice

And they gobbled up the kid friendly food...

... like the waffles shaped like Mickey! How cool is that?!

The buffet had something for absolutely everyone. Seriously, they had fruit, veggies, egg scrambles, potatoes, breakfast pizza, pastries, cereal, bagels, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles-- any breakfast food you could think of was there- and it was pretty delicious too!

Here's a pic of one of my plates- YUM!

All the characters were on the other side of the restaurant when we first sat down, which was kinda good because it gave us a chance to eat a little bit.

The first character that made it our way was Minnie Mouse!

Then, a little while later Daisy Duck came along!

TWO people at our table had birthdays within a couple weeks of a trip- Aunt Amy and Jessica both got special birthday pins, were serenaded a Disney style birthday song, and got a yummy Mickey shaped birthday cake!

The girls started getting a little impatient for the next character to come around, so we made another trip up front to see Mickey. He gave them a big hug and swayed with them to the music while I took their picture.

After that Melody and I took some silly pictures while we waited for Auntie Tarin's most favorite character...


Stitch was a little stinker! He liked to cover people's faces to make it harder to take pictures of them.

Silly Stitch!

Stitch is the only character that I wanted pictures with. He is my all time fave good guy!

He tried covering my face too...

but I got a good one with him!

But then he started picking my nose! And then he ate it! Ewwwwww!
That really made the girls laugh though.

Pluto was the next character to visit us- and that was Aunt Amy's favorite! When they first announced that he was coming up she was super excited- so of course we had to stay for her to get a pic!

We all had a lot of fun- Thanks Nana and Grandpa for providing the cash for this super memorable breakfast. It was a blast for every single person there.

Before we hit the road and headed back to AZ, Melody and Bethany wanted one more pic with Goofy.

Notice Mel's little foot pop? Amy thought it was so cute, she couldn't resist getting her picture taken that way too!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

girls only road trip! part 2

Hi! Welcome to the second part of our trip- Venice Beach & Santa Monica Pier! Jessica has been wanting to check out Venice for a long time- so we kinda planned our trip around that.

The first morning we were in California, I woke up to cold little fingers in my ears and little hands attempting to tickle me...before 6am!! I remember doing the same sorta things to my dad when I was a kid- like prying his eyeballs open and asking him if he was awake. I sent him a text, apologizing for being such a pesky kid! haha

Since we were up and at 'em so early- a lot of the shops and street vendors/artists weren't set up yet- so our first little wander down the board walk looked mostly like this:

One of the great things about Venice beach is that there are TONS of fun little photo ops all over the place. Here are a couple pictures of Jess:

A few days before we left for Cali- I got the brilliant idea to borrow my in-law's collapsible wagon to drag the girls around in. I knew we would be doing a lot of walking, so I figured it would come in handy.

Melody struck a "California pose" for me while we waited for her mommy and sister to come back from attempting to chase a bunch a seagulls:

Since none of the shops or anything were open, we shuffled down to the seashore to let the girlies experience the ocean for the first time.

After playing in the freezing cold water for a while, we took a little break and had a little snack- which Bethany decided to share with these guys:

Bethany loved how close the seagulls would come to eat some of her Doritos. Mel wasn't such a fan. In the video below- Mel tries to throw sand at the birds to make them fly away and while she is distracted with that, Jessica throw a Dorito at Mel and makes all the birds fly at her. It's pretty hilarious- take a look:

Melody didn't like the birds, but she did like collecting shells.

We are just stoked to be playing a the beach- as you can see Bethany could hardly contain herself!

Since this was a girls only trip, the girls decided to bring their daddy a jar of Venice Beach sand as a souvenir.

Once we had our fill of playing in the ocean we cleaned as much sand off the girls as possible, and had to strip Bathany out of her wet clothing. Since they were clean, and Bethany was half naked we had no choice but put the girls in the wagon and drag them (since wagon wheels don't turn in sand) from the shore to the boardwalk...

...we think it was about 1/2 a mile!

Jessica is seen above pulling the wagon just for the photo. I was the one who did most of the dragging!! We figured that the wagon was around 100 lbs. Woowee! That was a workout!

Since Beth's clothes got soaking wet, we kept an eye out for something we could buy to change her into and came across this fabulous rainbow jacket, with a long pointy hood that screamed BETHANY!

We let her wear that, and then tied her other jacket around her waist like a skirt while we walked all the way from Venice to Santa Monica Pier! Yup, that's a two mile walk... but it was worth it because we wound up here, at Pacific Park!

This was the girl's first ever carnival/amusement park ride. THANK HEAVENS Jessica went with them.

The ride:

Melody's verdict:

Melody had been talking about going on the ferris wheel and the roller coaster from the moment she found out we were going. Even though she wasn't a fan of the first ride- she really loved the ferris wheel- which surprised me a little. I didn't think she would like being up that high- we actually went on the ferris wheel a couple of time though.

Mommy and Bethany liked it too. :)

After we had finished up at Pacific Park, round 1, Auntie Tarin got to hustle all the way back to the car in Venice to drive back and pick up Jess and the girls- we decided that they had done enough walking for the day and we were all exhausted.

While I power walked as fast as possible back 2.5 miles Jess and the girls checked out the aquarium that's under the pier. Jessica thought it was kinda lame, but the girls seemed to enjoy it.

After that we drove back to the hotel for a little break. This is what Melody looked like about 10 minuted into the drive:

We did go back to the pier later that night though- because it looks so cool when it's all lit up...

...and because Melody hadn't gone on the roller coaster yet.

She was really excited about it. Jessica and Bethany didn't want to go, so I got the pleasure of taking her all by myself.

We climbed all the stairs up to the loading dock. She felt the ground shake beneath her feet at the roller coaster came to a screeching halt in the station. She watched it take off a light speed and run it's course-- and she was still really excited about it. She didn't seem the slightest bit nervous.

I explained to her while we waited that it was going to go really fast, but that she would be safe. She said she knew- and started to jump around with anticipation.

The line wasn't too long, so they were letting everyone go around twice.

Finally, it was our turn. We got a middle seat. I got her all strapped in as tight as I could (she is small, so I couldn't get it as snug as I would have liked) and then I got myself all buckled in. -The way this one is set up- there was no way I could put my arm around her or really hold her hand or anything. The best I could do was to put my hand on her little leg-I was sitting right next to her she was pretty much on her own.

Then we were off- to what I think is the scariest part- the incline. But was Mel nervous? Nope. Not at all. She was squealing with excitement and looking all around and talking about how great it was.

Next came a slight drop and a moderate 2 loop corkscrew- then came some nervous laughs followed by a slight whimper.

Then we picked speed and the ride really got going- and Melody LOST IT! From that point on it was the longest roller coaster ride of my life. She was freaking out- bawling and screaming at the top of her lungs. I did everything I could to comfort her but she was too scared.

We pulled back into the loading station and the ride stopped and I told her she was fine- when all of a sudden the ride shot off again (remember, I said it was a slow night)

I thought Melody's head was going to explode. She was crying so hard and screaming "I want off!! I want off right now!!!" I prepared myself for another seemingly endless ride of terror.

Luckily, the ride operated heard and stopped the roller coaster.... on the incline!! We were all sitting there, with Melody crying her little eyeballs out while the sent someone to retrieve us. I unbuckled Mel and lifted up and out the roller coaster- then I had to get off too. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get out a roller coaster that is parked on an incline?

I wish I had the iPhone on so I could have recorded the whole thing- it was kinda of hilarious for me- though traumatizing for my niece. I told her she was very brave and we bought her some cotton candy and a churro.

The next morning, we met up with MY aunties- Lara and Amy for breakfast at Venice beach. It was super delicious. The restaurant we ate at on the boardwalk is fun for people watching while you eat too.

So there you have it folks. Our beach experience. Stay tuned for part 3- the Disney adventure!