Thursday, September 28, 2017

Disneyland Without the Kids!

Jack and I booked a trip to Disneyland without our kids! (GASP!)...we missed them like crazy, but oohhhhh man, was it a blast!  We did all of the adult rides, ate the food we wanted, and got everywhere so fast!  My awesome mom watched our kids and we flew out early Thursday morning, had a bit of a frustrating situation with the worst shuttle ever (never book Karmel), but checked into the Grand Californian at a decent time and got right into the park!  Both Disneyland and California Adventure (well, Radiator Springs at least) were fully decked out for Halloween and we spent all day Thursday, Friday, and most of the day Sunday in the two parks.  It was amazing.  We went on the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy ride six times, the Haunted Mansion- which was Nightmare Before Christmas themed, Indiana Jones, Pirates, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, the Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Grizzly River Run, California Screamin', Radiator Springs Racers, Toy Story Mania, etc.  So a few rides that our kids like, but mostly things they are either too short or too scared to go on.  Also, both parks have a new app where you can get all of your fast passes on your phone, so we barely waited in any lines and could just book our times from anywhere in the park!  We ate like kings.  We shared a meal at every place so we'd have room to eat every three hours and it was the best food trip ever.  Patty melts and cherry coke floats at Carnation, fried chicken and pot roast at Plaza Inn, spicy beef skewers at Banyan BBQ, a million Nobb Hill Chill shakes at Ghirardelli, lobster nachos at Cove Bar, an intimate and amazing steak dinner at Blue Bayou, Monte Cristo sandwiches at Cafe Orleans, plus so many Sprinkles cupcakes in Downtown Disney and some Earl of Sandwich.  We were pretty fat and happy.  It was just so fun to go at our pace and not our kids', talk to each other nonstop without being interrupted, and to be honest we talked a lot about them and what they would love there.  Saturday we went to Universal Studios in LA and I finally got to check out Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The Forbidden Journey ride was waaaay better than the dinky Hippogriff ride, but the shops were cool and just the whole atmosphere of Hogsmeade.  We went on every other ride in the park as well (besides Walking Dead, because I hate haunted houses and this was a walk-through attraction with real people in) and went on a killer studio lot tour to see where so many things were shot.  Two movies that I seem to love a lot more than most people are The Mummy and Waterworld.  WELL, Universal had a Mummy ride and an awesome Waterworld show.  So I was stoked.  Also, we ate at Daryl's favorite restaurant of all time for lunch that day in City Walk, Bubba Gump's, and my favorite restaurant for dinner on our way home, BJ's Brewhouse.  So pretty much a banner day also.  The weather was perfect the whole time, low 70's and overcast but with not a drop of rain. Really though the trip was so perfect and we were so sad to see it end - but so happy to be flying back to our kids...alone on a plane with snacks we didn't have to share, no whining or crying, and watching our own movies.

Monday, August 14, 2017

4th of July/Austin Reunion 2017

Jack's brother, Dan, and his wife, Kanessa hosted the reunion this year and because we did it over the 4th of July the theme was Let Freedom Ring.

We spent the 4th at their house playing in their yard.  They had a water bounce house, a kid pool, their hot tub, 9-square, volleyball, their big playset, Name that Tune, a ping pong tournament, and lots of yummy food. We capped off the night by chasing parachutes up and down the golf course behind their house and then had our own amazing fireworks show as well as being able to see every other fireworks show for miles around from the lawn chairs in their back yard.  It was an epic day.

Wednesday we all packed up and headed up to Downey, Idaho to set up camp at Downata Hot Springs.  Downata was epic because it reminded us of old camping grounds or resorts from the 50s, complete with the raddest sign we took a picture in front of.  Ours and three other families stayed in the cabins, two families had tent trailers, and another camped in tents.  We had a big field full of teepees and a shaded pavilion all to ourselves.  We loved our cabin with a loft for the girls to sleep in and all of the kitchen amenities we needed for the food for our meals and to keep cold water up there (not to mention the a/c).  We spent lots of time playing games like human pinatas, water balloon toss, more 9 square, water gun fights, and Kids Say the Darndest things, as well as more amazing meals throughout the reunion, prefaced by awesome thoughts and scriptures about freedom and agency.  Each family also came prepared with a story about bravery and using our agency for good.

On Thursday we drove half an hour to Lava Hot Springs and floated down the river in tubes.  It was an absolute BLAST for most of us, but of course we could only get Olivia and Asher to try it one time...both crying the entire way down ;)  Our little family also went onto Main Street and sampled the local ice cream and pizza.  We finished with a picnic at the pavilion by the river and then on the way back to Downata stopped at a local water park.  We were only there an hour before they evacuated all of the pools due to lightning danger.  When we got back to Downata it looked completely torn apart.  Apparently gale force winds had ravaged the trees and campsites.  There was debris everywhere, mostly branches and leaves.  They had to drain the swimming pool to clean out all of the debris. Luckily there wasn't any permanent damage to our group's things and we helped clean up the branches across our field.  It was so crazy returning to that!
We had late-night games, homemade ice cream, and lots of great conversations.

Friday we cleaned and packed up and then most of us met at Maddox in Brigham City on our way home for one last hoorah.  It was such an amazing, small-town reunion getaway!


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