Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Family Pics

While in California we took family pictures at the beach.  We chose Ventura because Blaine spent most of his teenage years surfing at this beach and I have lots of memories here, as well.  We did our best to capture our love of the beach and our family even though it was a little windy and the kids thought we were torturing them by not allowing them to just go play.  After pictures, we changed into our bathing suits and had a great beach day.  The sun even came out after our pictures!  

Home Sweet Home...

Mine and Mel's kids at Ventura Beach
Blaine and I love California.  It is where we were both born and raised.  We will likely never live there again but it still feels like home every time we go back, mostly because I have great, life-long friends that we visit every time we are there.  We always stay with the Bryces.  They are always so welcoming and hospitable and really, they are like my family.  I think the kids might even think Alana is another Grandma.  Heather’s and Jenn’s kids are just like cousins to my kids and they always have fun playing together.  I also love getting together with my bestie from junior high and high school, Melanie.  Our kids get along great and I always regret that there isn’t more time on our California vacations for just hanging out!  One of the best things about “going home” is that no matter how long it has been since I’ve seen or talked to my California peeps, we just seem to pick right back up where we left off.  It always makes it soooooo hard to go back home to Colorado.    
Mel and I

Alyssa and Bella

Corralles burrittos on the beach...have we died and gone to heaven?

Alyssa, Bella, and Caleb

Beach Sisters!

Ez and Colby

Colby and cute!

The cutie pies on Ventura Pier

After an awesome day at the beach, we spent another great day visiting Ojai where Blaine grew up.  Here we are nearly getting attacked by ducks and geese at Lake Casitas.

And of course, we had to spend a day in Santa Barbara.  Riding the surrey took a bit of coordination but was a lot of fun.  

 The kids couldn't resist the ocean and took a dip in their clothes!
 We also got to hang out with my brother and his wife.  Here are some cousin pics...  
Tally, Cali, and Bella

Thayne and Ez

Fun with the Bryce kids

Heather and I...we had gone for a run together that morning.  Maybe it wasn't fair of me to take a pic of us after I had showered and she hadn't.  Either way, we were about to leave for the airport and I haven't taken a picture of the two of us together for years!

I'm pretty sure that I will be California dreamin' for the rest of my life...Thanks for a great vacation, friends!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The happiest (and most exhausting!) place on earth...

Warning:  This post is full of lots and lots of pictures!!!
We kicked off our California vacation with 3 very fun and very exhausting days at Disneyland. It was the best Disney trip ever because all of the kids were old enough to really enjoy it, the weather was just about as perfect as it gets in Anaheim (not too hot that is...) and we had enough days so that we weren't stressing about "getting it all in".  My Mom joined us on the first day, which allowed Blaine and I to take Bella and Ezra on some of the bigger rides together. 
All of the kids went back and forth between pure exhilaration and pure exhaustion. Cali caught about a 20 minute snooze in the stroller but Ezra's nap was truly impressive.  
 He fell asleep on Dad's shoulders...
 Then slept through the super awesome and super noisy parade...
And slept through much walking around...
And stayed asleep while we met Donald Duck...
And Mickey Mouse...
 And Minnie Mouse...
And well, he was sleeping so long and hard that we just couldn't resist messing around with him a bit.
He didn't miss it all he is with a scary storm-trooper...
And hitching a ride with Dad.
 We loved Thunder Mountain...
And the updated Star Tours was really awesome!
After a good night's rest, we were ready to hit the ground running at CA Adventure.  
And Ez was awake for all of the characters we met there...And boy did we meet a lot of them!  Cali was totally enthralled in meeting the characters.  She wanted to hug and talk to every single one of them and was mad whenever we had to leave.  It was so fun to see her eyes light up at the sight of each one of them.  
We ate lunch with most of the princesses at Ariel's Grotto.  The kids were thrilled with their personal visit with each princess.  I was worried that Ez might be a little bummed that it was all princesses but he just kept saying how "cute and sweet" they all were...he's my little Casanova for sure! 
Even though they were exhausted, they still wanted to swim in the hotel pool.  Cali must have gone down this slide a bazillion times!
 And nothing says welcome to Disneyland better than Mickey Mouse chocolate dipped rice crispy treats!
As parents, we were so proud of how well the kids saved their money to help pay for Disneyland.  They helped earn this vacation and I hope they will always remember it as a time that they had Mom and Dad's undivided attention in a really fun setting.