Sunday, November 11, 2012

California Here We Come!

A few months after their homecoming, we finally got to really celebrate having Grandma and Grandpa Nielsen back in the USA.  The Marshalls, the Drivers, Swen and our family got to spend a week in the most perfect sunshine doing only the funnest of activities.

While planning the trip, we knew one of those activities was going to be Disneyland and my kids were counting down the days.  One of the ways they were counting was by saving their pennies for a special Disneyland toy of their choosing.  My kids earn one dollar every time they earn 10 tallys (which are earned doing good things).  They also usually get birthday money from grandparents.  And as an extra incentive, my mom rewarded them with cash for each Article of Faith they memorized.  They got a dollar per article (i.e. $5 for memorizing number 5).  And they memorized up to #8 before we left.  So by the end, they had some serious cash.

Scarlet's Total:  $42
Rhode's Total: $87

Rhode was loaded.  I tried to talk him into spending some money here and there but he was bound and determined to save every penny for Disneyland.

And, while I'm on the subject, let's start with Disneyland!  Our Disney part of the trip started in California Adventure.  We had a fantastic day of great weather, small crowds and a brand new Cars Land to enjoy. 

I made my kids autograph books for the trip but Donald Duck is the only character we saw during our two days there that didn't have an extremely long line behind him.  

I also made matching Mickey shirts for Rhode and Asher.  Did I get a picture of them together wearing them?  Of course not.

My kids are the perfect age for Disneyland.  Well, actually perfect height.  Scarlet is 48" and could go on everything and Rhode at 42" inches was denied very little.  They even both went on the Tower of Terror.  They both claim it was fun but ask that they never have to go on it again.

The picture taking out first day was slim but here are some of the awesome people we got to hang out with on our park day.

Grandpa Bert

Cousin Olivia

We got there from the minute the park opened all the way until the World of Color show.  The show was fantastic, a tad long, but my kids were fascinated in their exhaustion.

We had so much fun, we funned out the rest of the family.  So our second day at "the real Disneyland", as my children referred to it, was a Jon Nielsen family only affair.

This time the kids sported their very neon Halloween shirts.  It was a fantastic way to spot them in a crowd.

Asher was the best little guy through our whole trip.  He hung out in our new (to us) sit n' stand stroller, took a few naps, enjoyed every second of every ride he was allowed to go on and was stoked after discovering his long lost love, cotton candy.

Rhode and Scarlet were ride going champions.  The park wasn't too crowded, except for character spots and Fantasy Land. So instead of doing little kid Disney, we just went straight for the big stuff.

They rode Splash & Thunder Mountain, the Matterhorn, Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours, and even braved Space Mountain - Halloween Version.  We did the baby switch pass on all of the rides so one kid would then go on the ride again with whatever adult stayed with Asher.  So not only did they get on these big rides, but they were then willing to immediately get on them again.  It was a blast.

Our first kid money expenditures were all edible.  We got a wide assortment of treats whenever hungry, or delayed, or walking by a delicious looking booth.

So here's something I didn't know existed.  I guess it used to be called Tom Sawyer's Island but has been renamed Pirate's Cove.  But its a whole tree house, tunnel play area  you have to get to by raft in the middle of the park.  I have absolutely no memories of ever being their or even knowing that existed.

Luckily for all, I got to relive those missed childhood experiences when Asher decided he was old enough for the tree house and needed a guide.

We also enjoyed all of the classic rides.  Pirates and the Jungle Cruise were two of this little guy's favorites.

And other than a brief visit to Toon Town, we pretty much stayed away from the middle and highly populated part of the park.

Except for the carousel.  Nielsen babies love them some carousel.

By the end of the day, my kids had decided on their purchases.  Scarlet had squandered most of her money on treats and a spray water bottle that she promptly lost but her dreams came true at a little kiosk in New Orleans.  After weeks of telling us she was going to buy an umbrella at Disneyland, she found a dark pink ruffled parasol decorated with her name in beautiful calligraphy.  It was the perfect find for her.

Rhode decided after Star Tours (which I think may be his only introduction to Star Wars in his life thus far) that he really needed to build his own light saber.  The task included choosing eight different parts of your own design, which was pretty fun.  Plus his gift only cost him $20.  Minus a few treats and he came home still the proud owner of $50.  He has since squandered some of it on bad behavior but that's a whole other story.

Our week long vacation included two days at the park and the rest of our days at the beach.

The weather couldn't have been more beautiful.  It was just warm enough for the kids to be diving in and out of the water.  And guess who finally decided to like the ocean?  

This guy.

Asher thought the beach was pretty fantastic as well.  The water was a bit chilly and kept moving out of his reach but the rocks were plentiful, the sand was kinda tasty, and the birds were just askin' to get chased.

He almost got that one.

We got to play some tennis at the resort, had a fantastic visit with our friends, the Mercuros, played a very fun round of Minute to Win It, and played our favorite card games until they weren't our favorite anymore.  Nah... still our favorite.

I am so glad I get to be related to such great people.  We missed the Moores, but we did our best to have fun without them.  It is also so nice to have Grandma and Grandpa Nielsen just one state away.  Hope we get to keep them there for awhile.  Or in our state would be nice as well!


A Bug's Life said...

so fun! I love how your kids saved up for it. And your Halloween is hilarious! daishan

Peggy Dee said...

What a fun trip! I love the matching Mickey shirts. Tom Sawyer's island used to be something you do only if you had a ton of extra time at Disney and when does that happen? It was maybe fun for little kids but teenagers used to go over there to make out or smoke pot - or so I heard. I did my making out, like a respectable teenager, on the old Monsanto ride! (JK - I didn't give my kisses away like pretzels but Monsanto was definitely a make out ride!!)