Saturday, December 16, 2017

Legoland Farewell

Well, we had our season passes for Legoland about to expire, and Russ was already in San Diego for work, so we decided to make a quick trip over for one last hurrah. I told the kids they shouldn't expect to go to Legoland again until they have kids of their own, so they needed to make sure they had no regrets. I was a little worried because we were going on a Saturday, but we walked right on the Dragon and got the front row! As soon as we were done, we went again.

It was pretty much the same story with the Technic Coaster. We were literally the second group to ride it that day. Cool, we checked the two major coasters off our list right away. It was going to be a great day!

Next stop, Granny Apple Fries! This may or may not have been my fault...

With the Star Wars episode 8 movie recently released, my kids were all excited to see the Star Wars models in Miniland. Everyone loves Yoda.

The dreaded Death Star.

We had never visited at Christmas time before, so that made our last visit kind of special.

The cars have always been a favorite for my kids, although one of them was finally too old to ride.

And we can never skip the carousel with the uncomfortably large horses.

One ride I never remember going on, and my kids begged me not to make them ride, was Skipper School. Oh, we are going! No regrets!

I had the best skipper.

The Lego Ninjago movie was also recently released, so we definitely had to get in on that action.

I asked him what he would ride if he had one last choice, and he picked the Kid Power Tower while the girls waited in line for Coastersaurus.

And then, because we had time left and the lines were so short, I made them go on one last ride on the Fairy Tale Brook. I guess I like water rides. Small World was always my favorite at Disney when I was a little kid.

Brandon's face cracks me up.

We passed the lion on our way to the exit, so we had to get one last picture in his mouth. I have no idea how many pictures I have of my kids with their faces in this lion. It's a lot... it might even date back to 2004.

*Looks through old pictures* Sure enough!

But there will be no more. Farewell Legoland! We're moving on!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Train

With both sisters at birthday parties for the evening, we had a chance to have a special date with our little man, and we decided to take him on the train that we had so tragically missed out on a couple years before (the newspaper said they closed at 9:30 but failed to mention the ticket booth closed at 9:00!). When we boarded the train, he wanted to sit by Daddy!

First, we did a little loop through the park and saw all the trees with their trunks covered in lights.

Then it was time for the real fun with elf houses, reindeer, snowmen, and Santa, of course!

Fake snow... my favorite kind!

The main train at the entrance was all decked out for Christmas, but sadly that cool train doesn't actually go anywhere.

After our train ride, we had just a few minutes to explore the model train building. Hey, it's Havasupai!

He loved pressing the buttons to animate various parts of the model, especially the ferris wheel and carousel.

It was definitely worth the five bucks to make a little dude feel special.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Town Too Tough to Die

Yeah, I hosted my husband's side of the family for Thanksgiving. No, I didn't get any pictures. But the day after Thanksgiving, we all headed to Tombstone for a taste of the wild west! Most of the family went to see a gunfight show, but since we had already seen one there in the past, we headed for the little amusement park. This was the sheriff's office.


I was on a mission to find a shooting gallery. This one had only one gun that worked and an ill-planned lighting situation, since the sunlight would make the targets stop working (and also made for challenging photography), but we pumped a bunch of quarters into it anyway and had some fun with it.

Mostly, we just walked around this tourist town looking around in the curious shops. People, they had a mustachery with items signed by Val Kilmer (who played Doc Holliday in the movie "Tombstone"). Are you guys jealous? You could even get a necklace engraved with a graphic of the sound waves of Kilmer saying, "I'm your huckleberry."

Every now and then, a stagecoach would pass by.

The whole group!

Before we left, we memorialized our visit by spending a small fortune on a low quality print of us in our western attire. (Haven't they heard of digital?!?! Oh wait, this is the old west... why the heck is it in color then?)

Okay, this is a little more authentic.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Teen Birthday Bash

This year my birthday took a back seat as I spent the evening hosting a teen birthday party for my daughter. She picked out all the food and activities, and I made it happen. Luckily, she is easy to please and a stop at Costco and Bosa Donuts did the trick.

It was kind of hilarious to watch all those girls (and one boy) sing, "I Will Survive."

They finished off like ten dozen doughnut holes and sang the loudest rendition of "Happy Birthday" I have ever heard. It was almost louder than a Pearl Jam concert.

She was the best birthday present I ever received, and I'm happy to watch her grow and thrive, surrounded by many friends.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Out on the Range

Remember how cooperative Russ was with my crazy solar eclipse idea? Or how he trained to hike the Grand Canyon with me? We like to do a lot of the same things, but sometimes he comes along just because he loves me, and he was finally ready to cash in on all the bonus points he's been earning. He told me there would be no more scuba diving or backpacking until I went with him to do the defensive handgun training. Truth be told, I really didn't want to do it, but I felt like I should.

Our trip got off to a rocky start. We left very late in the evening, which meant we didn't arrive until 1:30am, or 12:30 Nevada time, and that by itself wouldn't have been so bad if not for the series of unfortunate events that were about to befall us. A few minutes after Russ went in to check into our room, he came back to the car, shut the door, and huffed. Crap. When I asked what was wrong, he said they didn't have our reservation and that the computers were down until two o'clock, so they wouldn't be able to help us until then. "Okay," I thought, "this stinks, but we can try to get a little shut-eye in the mean time." Just after two, he went back to try again and soon returned with an even bigger huff. Double crap. They were sold out! Couldn't they have told us this last time? The only choice was to call around to other hotels, and when we realized the only hotel with availability wanted $159 plus tax for what would amount to maybe two hours of sleep, we decided to finish the night in the car. Luckily, our friend was staying in the same hotel, and we were able to get a shower before starting the day.

Day 1 was cold, and I was hungry and tired. The line coaches continually came by to tell me all the things I was doing wrong, and I just wanted to yell in their faces, "I don't even want to be here!" But I held it in, grinned and bore it, and made it through the first day. The next day was warm, and I was rested and fed, so it was much better! We spent both of those days learning how to handle the gun, holster it, aim, and hit our targets.

On day three, we went to the "Monsters, Inc." area to learn how to clear a room of a threat. I felt like we were training for an action movie!

We also had to learn how to clear gun malfunctions. Here I am practicing for the final test.

On the last day, after they tested our skills, we did some things just for fun. Here we were simulating multiple assailants.

One of the last activities was to try to hit a hostage taker in the head without hitting the hostage. You guys probably shouldn't take me as a hostage... just sayin'. I didn't do so well for Russ, so I didn't want to document that epic fail (RIP "Russ").

Meanwhile, our kids were in the kids program doing archery, hiking, crafts, shooting machine guns, learning gun safety, and playing with snakes!

This snake's name was Caesar.

Of course, now the kids want a snake.

The older kids were able to scale this tower. Can you see her up there?

Down she comes.