Sunday, September 11, 2016

SoCal Adventure: Disneyland California Adventure

On our second full day, we focused on Disneyland California Adventure. What a fun park! Carsland is incredible, and the Paradise Pier is such a retro-cool California carnival kind of vibe.

SoCal Adventure: Disneyland

We did not take this trip lightly...we've had enough experience with Disney to know that if you don't plan, it can be a disaster. So when I say I spent months planning this trip, I mostly mean I spent months reading Disney blogs and message boards learning about the best strategy to maximize our time and avoid crowds. With that, I had a whole spreadsheet (the 2016 version of Danny Tanner's clipboard of fun) for each day with the plan of attack for the day. I love my family for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is that they not only put up with me but get into it, too. Because the parks didn't open until 10 a.m. (part of our strategy was going the very week we went -- schools in California were back in session and it's one of the quieter weeks), we got up without an alarm, ate breakfast at our hotel and then walked over. The plan was to get there around 9 a.m., but because we were all so excited, we headed even earlier, around 8:45. We were second in line and it was perfect because the kids ran around playing Pokemon Go while we waited. They let us in around 9:30, and we gathered for rope drop. at 10 a.m. I'm not going to go through the entire play-by-play, but I am proud to say that we more or less followed our plan and it worked beautifully...we got everything done we wanted to and much more. It was awesome. We spent until 3 at Disneyland, went home and took a nap for an hour, got In-n-Out takeout (their veggie burger is the BEST) and brought it back to the park while we waited for the Paint the Night parade.

Mia turns 11

For her birthday this year, Mia decided she just wanted to take a couple of friends roller skating. Since her birthday was on a Tuesday, we took Mia, Maggie, Olivia, and Olivia's friend who was visiting from out of town, to the roller skating rink in Eugene the Saturday before her birthday. We had dinner at Red Robin, and then the girls skated for a couple hours after.

On Sunday, we had a family celebration. Mia got to choose the meal, and she decided on Indian food (without any influence from Nathan!).

 She also chose the dessert - macarons from Market of Choice. I had never had them before, but they are delicious!

On the morning of her actual birthday, we had a bit of surprise...not only for her, but also for Alex. They got up in the morning, and we did our usual breakfast and presents.

 This is a note Alex left outside of Mia's door with his gift to her:

After she opened her presents, Nathan handed them their daily chore list and they groaned...

....until they saw the "pack clothes 6d/5n" and they started getting a little excited. Then I handed them each a present that had a Mickey Mouse t-shirt...and this:

 Nathan and I had been planning this end-of-summer trip for months, but we really wanted to keep it a secret and surprise them, so we didn't tell anyone. We made it clear that this was a gift for both of them and not a birthday gift for Mia, and they were super excited. Because we were flying out later that day, we all got moving so we could get packed for our SoCal adventure. 

We packed up, ran a couple errands, ate lunch and then headed to PDX! 

 We flew into Orange County airport and got in around 7:30 p.m. We checked into our hotel (we stayed at the Park Vue Inn, directly across the street from the gate to Disneyland) and then went to the Pizza Press down the block for dinner. We could see the Disney fireworks while we ate, and were super excited to hit the parks the following morning.

 The hotel left a gift certificate for a free cake at the Cold Stone that adjoined the inn, so we picked that up, ate some, and then went to bed to rest up for the upcoming week.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunset dinner on Mt. Bachelor

On Thursday the Klinkhammers and Badgers came out to Sunriver to spend some time with my family, so we booked a sunset dinner on Mt. Bachelor. I had originally made reservations for Sunday, but it was cold, snowing, 36 degrees and zero visibility on the mountain, so it got cancelled. Luckily, it worked out so we could all go on a beautiful, clear day. 

The ski lift takes you up to the Pine Martin lodge where you have dinner. It's a rotating, themed menu, and on the night we went it was Hawaiian. The food was delicious and the views were incredible. 

We finished a bit before sunset, so we just wandered around until was well worth the wait. 

 If you're in Bend this summer, I highly recommend adding this to your to-do list!