Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We had such an amazing time on our trip to California!! And, after 10 days of traveling (including 42 hours just in the car!) we made it back home.
Our trip started the morning of October 16th. The kiddos had already been told of the upcoming trip, but didn't really have many expectations. So, along with my parents and little sister, we all piled in our car and headed off. After almost nine hours, we made our first destination; Sacramento, where we were staying the night. The next morning it was onto our final destination; Anaheim!
We arrived at our resort and were pleasantly surprised by how gorgeous it was (I've mentioned before that we are Worldmark owners)! They told us at the front desk the fireworks would be starting soon, and we could watch them from the roof deck or from our room. Sweet!
And, sure enough, once the fireworks started, we had a perfect view from our room. It was amazing and the kids were in total awe!
The next day was our first Disneyland day, and we headed over with my brother and his girlfriend, who live in the area. Zavion had gotten all worked up about going and was clearly very excited. Once he stepped through the gates, you could just see the wonder in his eyes! After a trip to City Hall for 'First Time Visitor' buttons for the kids, we headed off the Fantasy Land to start riding! Not only was Z having a great time, but Avalee was also having a blast. We did lots of fun rides, including Avalee's favorite, the teacups (“Spin faster! Faster!!”) and Z's favorite, Alice in Wonderland.
After a long, and very exciting day, we headed to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (YUMM!) then back to our resort for some rest.
The next day was Zavion;s fifth birthday! Although he didn't know it, we had a very fun morning planned; we were going to breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen! Unfortunately, Z was a little grumpy (he's like his mama and SO not a morning person) when we arrived but all it took was a visit from Goofy himself to turn Z around. He was so amazed with Goofy and the following parade of characters (including Pluto, Baloo, Chip & Dale, Belle & Alice) and even the yummy food (Mickey shaped waffles!). And, the cherry on the cake was when they came out to sing 'Happy Birthday' to him. He was so excited to be presented with his own cake (in a little treasure chest) and be the center of attention. Haha!
After breakfast we headed into Disneyland for some more fun. However, we were greeted by some terrible weather including torrential rain (bad enough to make even these native Oregonians take cover), thunder and lightening. Ick! So, after a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, we headed over to California Adventure to get in some indoor rides. We still managed to have a great (if not soggy!) time and headed back to our resort that evening for Z's favorite dinner (pizza soup), more cake and, of course, presents! We were even treated to another showing of fireworks, even tough they don't normally show during the week. Zavion definitely had a wonderful birthday, and of course we still had the rest of the week left on our trip!
The next day took us to Seaworld, where the kids had a blast watching dolphins and whales jump high in the air, petting manta rays and even riding some more rides. And, Zavion's highlight? He got to feed the dolphins with Grandma. Seeing the look on his face when they told him he could pet the dolphin was great!
Day four was a trip to Universal Studios, and we were happy to be joined by Uncle and Aunt Lindsey this time (since they just live a couple blocks away!). For me, Universal is a blast; it's definitely always been one of my favorite theme parks. I wasn't sure how well the kids would enjoy it, since there aren;t as many rides (or flying dolphons!) to keep their attention. But, Avalee was instantly smitten when Curious George came up to her and tried 'stealing' her banana. And, Zavion loved the Shrek 3D 'ride.' Of course we enjoyed lots more during our visit there, including my favorite, the studio tour. It was a fun day and afterward we got to go have a delicious dinner at John and Lindsey's apartment (prepared by Lindsey). The kids were SO excited to be spending time at Uncle and Lindsey's, since they had only hung out with them at our house before. In fact, we had to remind them that Uncle and Aunt Lindsey had neighbors much closer than us (apartment? What's an apartment?), so we needed to not be quite so loud. ;o)
Than it was our last day in Disneyland. We were hoping for better luck with the weather than we had the last time. We even let Zavion wear his 'It's my birthday' button since he didn't get a chance on his actual birthday, and was very happy to get lots of birthday greetings from the cast members in Disneyland. We took a more relaxed approach to our last day, and even got to ride a couple rides for the second time. And, we capped off the evening by watching the parade. During the parade characters and cast members kept coming over to wish Z a 'Happy Birthday' (yay for the button), and Z even got to join the conga line and dance with one of the cast members. Seeing the joy and utter amazement on my kids' faces was one of those memories I will carry with me forever. That was my magical Disneyland moment. :)
It was a long and full day, but the kiddos were very happy when the day was over. And, Grandma was even nice enough to take the kids back to the resort while Colin and I stayed and hung out just the two of us. It was a nice break, and for a couple hours even felt like we were on vacation, just the two of us. Haha! We decided to head back a little early and hit the hot tub for a little while, which was very welcome after a long day of walking.
On our last day, we headed back to San Diego, this time for the Wild Animal Park. We hard heard some good things about this place, so were pretty excited to have the day there. Both of the kids have always been really into animals, so they were enjoying themselves from the moment we got into the park. Some of the highlights included the walk-though bird sanctuary, where Z was got to feed the birds and a sing-a-long where the kids got to dress as butterflies, than go on a 'parade' through the park, and finally release ladybugs at the end. And, of course along the way we got up close with elephants, lions and Zavion's favorite, the Condors.
The next morning, we bid a bittersweet farewell to Anaheim, but still had a little more fun planned on the way home. We headed to San Fransisco, and after checking into our hotel that evening went over to Fishermen's Wharf to have dinner at Rainforest Cafe. The kids had so much fun there! Afterward, we took a stroll over to Pier 39 where the kids checked out the sea lions and we got some great night-time views of Alcatraz. The next morning, we decided to go back to Fishermen's Wharf, since everything had been closed the night before. We made a stop by the Bourdin bread factory so I could pick up some of my favorite sourdough (yumm!) then back to Pier 39. Zavion had a couple dollars of his money left (he had a couple lemonade stands during the Summer and had saved his money) just burning a whole in his pocket, and decided he wanted to take a spin on the carousel. He was generous enough to even offer up some of his hard-earned money, so his little sister could ride with him...aww!
After leaving the pier, we hit the road to home. We had a pretty easy trip back home, and although we arrived a little later than expected, we did so with some very happy memories!

We're going to Disneyland!

Mickey Mouse fireworks (seen from our room) over Disneyland!

Just before heading into Disneyland

First time visitor!

Grandma & Miss Avalee on the Dumbo ride

The whole group of us

Meeting Mickey was quite the thrill!

Meeting Goofy

Happy Birthday, Mr. Zavion!

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