Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thing the Third: Vacation

And then, we went on vacation!  It was so great to have a long week away from work.  We had a nice quick flight to Phoenix to visit The Wife's recent med-school graduate brother and his family, and were soon joined by her sister and her kids, as well as her parents (who apparently had a very interesting drive across the desert from Missouri...  Oh, car troubles!).  We had fun catching up, and then the next morning piled into two cars (after a little more car trouble) and drove across to Anaheim to visit our favorite Happiest Place On Earth.  It seems like it had been forever since we were last there!  I mean, it had been about six months, so it was about time, ha ha.  It's such an interesting dynamic going just the two of us vs. going with a big group, especially a group with five little kids, but it was really fun.  We had three days at the parks, and were really glad to be just ahead of the insane summer crowds that would shortly arrive in droves when Cars Land and Buena Vista Street open (which has by now happened, leading to six-plus-hour waits for the new attractions...).
Highlights included finally seeing the really cool Soundsational Parade, most of us eating at the Blue Bayou (where we were forced to choose something different from our favorite Monte Cristo, since we were there for dinner rather than our usual lunch), spotting two podcasters live and in the midst of doing their thing (I didn't stop to talk to them, but I did wave and shout hello as I passed either on foot or on carousel horse), taking everyone to the Animation Academy and seeing everyone's drawings, peeking over the construction walls to Cars Land, seeing the newly-unveiled Carthay Circle Theatre in the new hub, taking Julie's parents to see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and me riding the Mad Tea Party for the first time in probably five years, and not only living to tell the tale, but also not losing my lunch.  It was especially fun to take Julie's dad, who hadn't been there in several decades.  He seemed to love every bit of it, and he was a big fan of any and all rides we took him on.
I love Main Street in the morning.  Interestingly, I am completely blocking the castle.
Look who we ran into!  They're just like us!
Noooo problem!
Why hello there, Merida.  You're out and about a little early, aren't you?
What a strange-looking mutilated corn dog.  It still tasted pretty good.
I never see the Dapper Dans!  But we didn't stick around long.
They gave her a birthday treat at the Blue Bayou!  So festive.
This is me posing with a cannon and Marissa with her Lego "phone," with which she took a "picture" of me.
Aye, avast!
If you look closely, you can see the sleeeeeepy in my eyes.
She hides her sleeeeeepy a little better than I do.
She did the driving.
A different take on Julie's traditional picture in front of Boo's door.
Lesson learned:  If you're going to Disneyland during Grad Nites, at least be forewarned.  O, teenagers!
She loves that Dumbo.
We didn't really plan on making this look like one of our awkward Prom photos, but it kind of ended up looking that way anyway.  Maybe we're getting too used to taking pictures like that?
We were planning on just spending two of the three days our passes allowed, and maybe using the extra day another time somewhere down the line before they expire, but then we wanted one last chance to do a few more things on our last morning before we left town.  It turned out to be a good idea, since we were able to get a few last-minute souvenirs and treats that had eluded our grasp and schedule up until this point.
As a farewell to Disneyland on our last day, here's our Tower of Terror tribute to the ending of The Artist.
... But we couldn't leave before saying goodbye to Charles.
... and getting one of theeeese.
Farewell, Disneyland, until we meet again!  You look very crowded this morning!
The kids were just amazed to see our names on the ground in front of Disneyland.
Then we went to the beach!  We only had time to spend a couple hours of the morning there (after our few last hours at Disneyland, and before our eternally long drive back to AZ), but it was a nice day and a great visit, and the kids evidently didn't seem to mind that the water was freezing cold.
This girl loves the beach.
This boy does too, but he's being 2 kewl 4 skewl at the mo.
*brushes off shoulders*
There we were, just contentedly taking one of the self-taken-photos that we are so fond of, and at which we have become so skilt in past years, when...
... a fellow walked up and all but demanded we let him take a real picture of us.  Why not?
'Tis true.  Now people flying overhead know it too.
Look at William, just strutting on out to the water, ha ha.
Dad even took off his shoes and went wading!
As the mums gaze serenely on.
And here we have a specimen of the rare and elusive sea pony.
Then we drove back to Arizona and spent a couple of days hanging around and visiting and escaping the horrid Arizona heat by staying inside, and helping Tyler's family get ready to move in just a few days.  It was really fun to spend more time packing after we finally finished moving ourselves (...), but seriously, we were glad that we could be there to help.  We also were glad to be present for newborn Rose's blessing.
Julie went to the Hair By Marissa salon.

Such fashionable new trends!
It was ever so nice to see Puppy again.
Oh, Marci, at least pretend to be enjoying your ice cream!
That's better!

Oh Tyler, look how outnumbered you are...  You may just get your son one day!
Can you stand how cute these kids are??
I mean, LOOK at IVY!!!
"Drew, I love you and I always will."  *Drew melts*
Just because.
What was I saying about awkward Prom photos?
That's better.
There's even a toe pop!
(Notice how pinkish we are.  Thanks, California sun!)
Then there were a bunch more pictures, and this one image more or less sums up everything that was going on.
Family photo!  Including (almost) everyone!
It became a goal of Julie's to get William to give us a genuine smile.  Getting down to his level and tickling mercilessly seemed to do the trick.
Now for some true glamor shots.
Sisters do as sisters should.
Here she is!  Rose, or as Ivy calls her, 'Ose.
The upside of having to leave and come back home to work and life was knowing that almost everyone we were saying goodbye to would be driving through Utah within the week, which they did.  So we had another fun weekend with Julie's family, and we were able to show them our new place, and feed them delicious dinner and one of Julie's exquisite cakes.  We watched movies and hiked the Y and were introduced to the reboot of My Little Pony and went for walks and had a nice weekend, and our air mattress had its inaugural use for Marci and the kids.
This kid is a chess champion.  We played a few times, and the best I can say for myself is that one we made it to a complete stalemate, or maybe more accurately a draw.  Basically we both had our kings left, and that's it.
Sunday picnic in the park!
Da ladiez all luv a cake.  (And so do da guyz.)
A little bedtime story for Marissa.
You're so close, Wife!  There it is!
It was a great vacation, even if it did make me wish we had a vacation to recover from the busyness of it (which is almost always the case).  For some reason, and much to the disbelief of kith and kin, I just don't know if we'll be heading back to Disneyland for another year or two, as we just have a couple of also very exciting non-Disney trips on the horizon, so it was good to have a nice long visit there (and of course it's always so great to see Julie's family from out of town), and then when we DO make it back, we'll just be ever so glad to see it again.

.... aaand just like that, those are my three Things!  I hope you enjoyed reading about them as much as we enjoyed experiencing them.