Saturday, February 23, 2013

Christmas Break Part Two

We spent nearly a week in California.  Thanks to a friends' Marriott discount, we had great accommodations close to the beach and Disneyland. The weather there was SO perfect.  Back in Utah they were having below average temperatures, well below zero every night, but Cali was 70's and sunny.  Amazing.  We had so much fun at the beach.  We were told about a little beach called Crescent Beach on Laguna Beach.  It was so beautiful!  It's kind of hidden in a neighborhood, a very rich neighborhood of huge houses with the ocean in their backyard. It's crescent shaped and has tide pools on both of the outside edges.   
 The kids spent hours touching "enemies" and hermit crabs and star fish. 

We were the last ones on the beach as the sun set.  The waves were loud, the sunset was beautiful, it truly was amazing. 

We came back to Crescent Beach the next day.  Even though it was warm outside, the water is COLD!  But that didn't stop Ben and Weston from stripping down and playing in it. 

 The older boys and Jason had wet suits so they spent a lot more time in the water, snorkeling and boogie  boarding. Jason spent a lot of hours this trip on a different beach trying to surf.  The board he had wasn't a very good one for beginners and he had no one to teach him, but he loved it.  I was content to just sit in the sunshine and watch the kids.

Some photos from Little Germany.  I wish we would have gotten some photos from Little India.  We ate at an amazing Indian restaurant,  but we were THE only white people in the whole town.  We stood out just a little.

 The last 2 days we spent at Disneyland and California Adventure.  It was busy.  Is it ever NOT busy?  But Disneyland was worse.  Still, we made good use of the fast passes and got on almost everything we wanted to.  The kids loved it.  They were all the perfect age for a trip like this. 

We visited the new Cars Land.  Luckily, by getting to California Adventure early in the morning and waiting in a HUGE line (that moved surprisingly fast) to get a fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers, we were able to ride it after waiting for 15 minutes instead of THREE HOURS.  It was a cool ride, but I can't believe people wait that long to ride it.   
In the end, it was an awesome trip.  The bags I made for Christmas worked great.  They kept the kids occupied both to and from California without even bringing a DVD player.  They also used them during any down time at the hotel.  There were only a few quarters lost, and the kids got along so much better than I could have hoped. It was hard to come back home to the cold and the realities of life, but I'm so glad we went.

Christmas Break Part One

This year over Christmas break, we took the whole 2 weeks off from work and spent most of the time away from home.  It was awesome!  Such a needed break.  But before we left we had to make gingerbread houses (and trains, in Weston's case).  I had the best intentions this year of making the gingerbread myself, but in the end, I opted for the more costly but infinitely easier route. 

Then, on to Grandma and Grandpa Ferguson's.  We don't often get to spend nearly as much time there as we'd like to and Grandma and Grandpa's, so this was so great not to have to hurry back home for work.

My mom put together a Christmas Eve program and all the kids did a nativity. Check out those costumes!  My mom's awesome neighbor has a huge rack of costumes plus a manger complete with hay. 

Somehow (probably some not so subtle hints) Ben talked Grandma into giving him her nutcracker.  He's had it standing on the same place on his shelf since we came home until the other night when he decided that it looked "freaky" during the night.  So now he has to move it out of the room at night.

We didn't even go to get our own tree this year since we were going to be gone for the holidays, so the kids were really looking forward to decorating at Grandma's.  It was fun.  She brought out all the old ornaments from when we were kids. That was quite a trip down memory lane.

Christmas morning.  This year we gave the kids the option of getting presents or going on a trip.  They picked a trip to California.  Santa still brought a stocking and even surprised the whole family with a few extra gifts.  The only gift they got from us, were some bags I sewed (YES I SEWED, with some help from a friend) full of snacks, activities and games for our drive to California.  I also sewed some smaller bags with $20 in quarters.  The plan was for them to lose quarters if they fight on our trip otherwise they could spend the money in California.  A little trick my mom used on us as kids that apparently worked great.  Only back then she used dimes, which would have bought NOTHING at Disneyland.  
It was a wonderful 5 days with the family and we were sad to say goodbye, but off to home with one day to prepare for our California trip.

Regan's 13th Birthday

Yes that's right, we have a teenager in the house.  And I can't complain...yet.  All he wanted to do was stay home and have me cook his favorite meal and favorite cake and play some games. 

Spencer's gift was homemade as usual.  A bi-plane made from paint sticks, felt and other odds and ends.  He worked on it the whole afternoon. 
 Ben and Weston bought him some games.
Jason and I got him a bunch of books because the boy LOVES to read.  He will literally spend all day reading if we let him.  As it turned out, all the books we got him, except for one, he already had. He was embarrassed to tell us, but he finally did.   
 His favorite cake, fruit cocktail cake. 

Family Pictures

It's been YEARS since we've had a new family photo.  Finally...

 It took Ben a few tries to get it right....


 Spencer and Vince...


 And the hero of the family...

Not looking as brave as he did in the first picture.