Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Break Starts Today!!

 So in parental terms, today is my last day alone for 3 weeks : ) Soph and Myles have 2 weeks off, Emma has 3.  High school finals are no joke, and she can really use that 3 weeks off! Anyway, nothing exciting has been going on, thus the lack of posts lately.  Just normal life stuff. Brian's had 2 business trips. One to Colorado, and one to Arizona....I think. Pretty sure it was Arizona.  School is keeping my kids busy.  One wrapped up her run club with a 5k, and started film club.  The other is busy with finals, fundraising for a HOSA 4 day competition in Sacramento, and starting CERT training at the hospital here in town. At the end, she'll be part of our town's CERT team, ready to help in an emergency, and ready to compete in the CERT comp at the HOSA convention. The other kid is busy being a kid! He's having a really good year, had a really good conference, and a really, really good report card.  It's ice skating season, and he's really enjoying that. He had a night out with a friend and papa, ice skating, and enjoying dinner at The San Fransisco Creamery, which is actually in Walnut Creek.  Then he had another night out skating with some friends.  So, yeah...just living life over here at the Latham house.  Looking forward to a few weeks off from the school routine.  Grandma will be here for almost 3 weeks, so we will have fun!   Ok, I'm off to enjoy my last day alone and get some stuff done, here's a few pictures for you!

 This spoiled dog got a new chewy after his bath and warmed up in front of the fire while he enjoyed it.
 He's the only baby I have left, and he knows it!
 Ice skating....well, warming up after a few laps during ice skating.
 I took advantage of Brian being gone and cleaned out our closet and got him all organized.

 My side...I don't have shoe racks, but do have lots of chafing racks from gatherings where we've had food delivered....and if you flip them upside down, they work well for shoes.
 A friend at school brought Myles a little ewok gift.
 Because you need to match your buddy while you ice skate.
 This kids room is  getting made over, a little at a time.  New lighting, rearranged, and a new mirror.  Soon it'll get paint, new curtains, and a queen bed.
 I'm usually the singer, but we love our rock band nights.  I prefer drums over singing, but I'm just glad to be included in their fun and am happy to sing.
 Some of my finest work-
 This one's from last year.  We plan to take grandma this year to the life size gingerbread house, and then to Ghirardelli for hot coco.
Hope you all enjoy the next few weeks! You probably won't here from me here untill 2017!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Disneyland via a Real Camera

The only reason I did these this way was because I don't like mixing phone pics with pics from a real camera.  The quality is so different that when they are in the same post, it's super noticeable, but if I separate them, it's not as bad.  I only notice it on my blog, not anyone else. Just my own pet peeve on my own blog. 
Anyway, so here's some from the camera. : )

 Our first ride Sunday was Splash Mountain.  It was raining, so there was no line at all.

 Emma's in a photo class and was able to check out a camera to take on this trip.  She developed the film today and is super excited that they turned out good!

 Monday night ( we watched for a week for a reservation opening, one popped up at 9:20 Monday night) we ate at Blue Bayou.  Such a treat!  Below, my flash went off...oops.

 The girls ate lobster and filet Mignon.

 Kids eating their sundae while Brian and I relax and watch Main Street empty out for the night.

 If you stay late can get a shot like this!
 This was broken down on the cars ride in the cavern.

 Another late night hard to get shot.
 I think we look a little bit Disney haggard.

 The reflection in the water was so pretty.

"If you can dream it, you can do it.  Remember, this whole thing started with a dream and a mouse."-Walt Disney

Disneyland Via Phone - Lots of Pictures!- Long Post

 We originally planned to do a winter Disney trip in December when Grandma (my mom) is here.  It involved missing  a few days of school for Sophie and Myles due to timing, black out days, winter breaks not lining up, etc.  However, both Sophie and Myles had pneumonia early in the school year and missed a week of pulling them out for any extra days isn't an option.  We had to adjust accordingly, which sadly meant going over Thanksgiving Break w/o Grandma.  Myles wasn't expecting this, and was totally surprised!
 We love going this time of year! Everything is so pretty!  At night there is a show projected onto the front of Small World every 30 minutes (I think??)....and the ride smells so yummy inside!  The line was pretty epic....wrapping around across the street back towards the Matterhorn, and then eventually back to the ride.....but totally worth it! was raining.

 The castle and all the surrounding trees have been "snowed" on, and lit accordingly.  Super pretty.
 Ok, so Myles knows an amazing amount of random Disney facts.  While Brian and the girls went on a ride, Myles and I wandered around on Main Street.  At Coke Corner (end of main street, on the left) there are red and white flashing lights.  We were walking by and Myles says, "Oh, let me show you something."  In the corner of an entry way, to keep the pattern going correctly, they had to split a bulb, making it half red, half white.

 Myles making Pinocchio dance in the penny arcade.  This must have been misplaced, it cost 25 cents.
 When lines are long, it's always safe to to into the animation studio building.  In here we did the drawing class, turtle talk with Crush, and went into somewhere we never had been....The Sorcerer's Workshop??  I had never even noticed it, and based on the name, would not have gone in....but Myles knew if you hurry through and out the back....hidden is The Beast's Library....which is really neat, and there's no sign for it out front, so you would never know it was there.
 You take a quiz and it tells you what character you are most like.

 Another safe spot to go when it's super crowded is the Golden Horseshoe.  Even though the last show was over and done hours before, they keep the doors open and serve food/drinks/sundaes.  We hid up in the corner for a bit to relax and regroup.
 This quiet spot is one of my new favorites.  I don't care much for the princesses, and haven't been through here during the day, so it could be a mad house in daylight....but at night the courtyard at the Princess fair area is so quiet and peaceful.  There's a robot cat and bird up in a window that make sounds and move, if you are patient enough to wait for it.  And a tower that lights up every 15 minutes and has something to do w/Rapunzel.  If the fam needs a potty break (between the shooting arcade, and the Mexican restaurant by Big Thunder, there's a walk way with bathrooms that cuts through to Fantasy Land) I usually wait here for them.
 In that same spot there's a big music box you can crank the handle for music and a show inside.
 This was a spot I had never looped back through.  We were in line for Pirates, and looped all over the bridge out front, back behind the ride, through the back side of buildings.
 Myles has always wanted to eat at the Blue Bayou inside of Pirates.  This was the trip.
 It was amazing.  The food has gotten so much better.  I'll have more pictures in the regular picture post (not phone pictures), but the girls ate like queens!
 Myles got a fancy ice cube he got to keep.
 This is the outside of the building.
 Main Street looking toward the train station.
 12:30 AM sundae time.  Main Street stays open till 1 when the park closes at 12.
 Cars Land.  So, you are looking backwards at the line behind us for Radiator Springs Racers....all the way back down the street, out of Cars Land.  We always plan one day of our trip to go right as California Adventure opens.  They walk the line calmly (lol) from the entrance into Cars Land, and to the ride, so there's no stampede.  I've never seen the line this long.  They told us the ride was down, and didn't know when it would open (again, right at opening).   We guessed maybe this was to cut the line down,....which it did. We stayed in line, and in under 5 minutes the ride was magically working again, and we basically walked right on, the line moved really quick.

 We got all the way thru the ride, and broke down right next to this guy for maybe 5 minutes.  I love this ride, and while the line can be long, we've waited almost 2 hours's totally worth it.
 By far, the biggest ordeal was waiting on Main Street for the fireworks and parade.  In my 33 years of going to Disneyland, I've never had a problem sitting on the curb waiting for a parade.  Well, the fireworks are 1 hour before the parade, so we figured we'd sit and wait for the fireworks, and then we'd be set for the parade. We got a spot, and both sides of the street were filled, too, like normal. Well, be will get barked at over and over to stand up because the fireworks are about to start.  I said to the dude, "you mean in 45 minutes they start",   he said yes, so stand up.  We were totally confused...but apparently they can fit more people if everyone stands and smooshes forward. Then after the fireworks, they empty out main street, and it's mayhem trying to get back to get a spot for the parade.  So we stood, and everyone kept one foot on the curb holding our parade spots, and as soon as the fireworks ended we plopped back down.  I totally recommend this method for anyone going who wants to see both things....but be warned you get told to stand out in the street, smoosh forward, don't touch the curb, don't sit....I say you paid a butt load to get into the park, stand your ground and do what you need to do.  We have 2 kids who have major anxiety issues and we do all we can to avoid smashed together there was no way were were following directions and getting smashed into a crowd.
 After all that was worth it.  It snowed both during the fireworks, and the parade.
 Myles spent his spending money on a tea pot and Cheshire cat tea cup and was talking about having tea parties and we can wear fancy hats when grandma I sent Brian a text to go on a secret mission to find this hat that I knew he had wanted.

 Not often do you see the tea cups lit and empty.
  Last Day PJ's.
 One of the treats about going this time of year is the windows on Main Street.  They are extra fancy, and change scenes.  The whole window will rotate and show a new scene, and they are animated and move. 
 Can't remember his name, but we talked and sang and had a good time!
 Disneyland, where you can have fun doing anything....even waiting for your sister to get out of the bathroom.
We love Disneyland, and love it even more this time of year.  Going with the right mindset is key to enjoying your time there during holiday season.  Know it's very crowded.  Know lines are super long.  Know where you can go to take a break from all the action and people.  We went on very few rides this trip compared to normal.  There was one day we went on only 1 ride from opening until about 7 in the evening.  But, we still had a blast enjoying everything else other than rides.  We sat and ate churros, wandered thru shops, saw shows and even found the beasts library : ) And when we did do a ride, we went into it knowing it was going to be a long wait, and played Heads Up on our phones as a family.

Ok, now that I've posted all the grainy pictures from my phone, I'll get up a post with camera pictures in a few days!