Friday, December 31, 2010

The Wedding Luncheon and Reception

[From Dec 31, 2010]

Luncheon Flash Mob video (I was instructed to follow Jason as part of the 3rd wave)

Vintage Diner

Scott absolutely worships Spencer now, and was literally stuck to him all the time.

The reception was perfect in every way, with great food, great decorations and a great new couple

The guest book included a photo booth

Marshmallows dipped in chocolate is divinely messy

Kristy tried to win Katie over, but Katie was playing hard-to-get

Spencer loves to party

The large helium balloons made for fabulous entertainment

The balloon-cam

A lit sparkler tied to a large helium balloon makes for an amazing sight [video]

Sam's Wedding at the San Diego Temple

[From Dec 31, 2010]

Sam and Jennika got married on a beautiful, sunny morning at the San Diego Temple and everything about it was so perfect. Essentially, anywhere you decided to point your camera was a legimate subject for a photograph. Scott demonstrated this point quite literally by shooting off about 100 photos while we were on the temple grounds. I have combined some of his best shots into a collage.

In addition to those that he took, we took a few, and we posed for a good family shot. The colours there were so vibrant (especially compared to Calgary in December).

And of course, we did manage to snap one or two with the bride and groom in them. Beautiful day. Beautiful couple. Everything was beautiful.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Historic San Diego

We awoke in Anaheim, but we needed to be in San Diego by dinnertime for a pre-wedding karaoke party. We cruised out to San Diego in time for lunch at In-N-Out burger. I imagine the place is typically pretty busy for lunch, but it just happened that the Holiday Bowl was going on a few blocks away the same day and the place was swarming with Nebraska and Washington fans. Still, the food was fantastic and R was able to get her burger wrapped in lettuce, which was ideal.

After our burgers (and after a long search for parking spots) we checked out the Mormon Battalion Visitors Center in the middle of Historic Old City San Diego. It was really well done, and Scott was particularly enthralled by the TV-screen windows that had people come up and talk to us.

Our final destination for the evening was actually down the highway a ways in San Clemente, so we piled in the car again and Scott got to play some more Angry Birds. Unfortunately, this time the car sickness got the best of him and he did throw up. Fortunately, we found something for him to throw up into. R spends a lot of time on this trips climbing back and forth between the front seat and the back seat.

It was great to finally arrive in San Clemente for the karaoke party and see the cousins that we should have seen when we were at Disneyland the previous day. I was so moved, I broke into song.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Disneyland in the Rain

It POURED rain all morning at Disneyland. The intense rain threw off most of our plans to connect with cousins at the park, and we mainly just tried to survive.

Our first ride of the day was Peter Pan. R hid in a gift shop with Katie asleep in the stroller while Scotty and I tried out the ride. I expected it to be pretty tame, but it was very dark, very jerky and very, very loud. We couldn't communicate much during the ride but afterwards I asked for his opinion: "Did you like that ride?"

He had a much better experience on the It's a Small World boat ride with R. Katie and I hid out in another gift shop until they came out. I had borrowed my dad's 100% waterproof rain gear, so only my feet were getting wet. Everyone else was using cheap ponchos that we bought at a dollar store the night before.

My sister A is a total Disneyland Pro, so she guided us through our experience for the day, getting us FASTPASS tickets for the popular rides and minimizing our wait times. This was particularly important for rides that had a line-up outside in the rain. When I went on Space Mountain with my teen-aged neice I tried to be sure to embarrass her as much as possible.

Scott's clear favourite ride on the day was the Buzz Lightyear ride, which we were able to do twice in the morning. Normally, I would be a bit cynical about Disney's placement of a gift shop at the end of nearly every ride. However, on this day, I was more than happy to have a warm, dry place to hide for minute.

Eventually, the kids were all soaked and hungry and we had to retreat to our hotel for a respite and a change of clothes. I remember jumping in the car and racing all over the neighbourhood looking for an In-N-Out Burger or a Wendy's so that I could get R something that was gluten free. In the end, I got her a smoothie because there was NOTHING around that seemed suitable (we had heard that Disneyland had some gluten-free options, but the rain had driven us off the property). That bit of frustration was the turning point for the day, though. After that, the rain stopped and the rest of the day was really, really good.

The rain kept most of the crowds away that day, so we found that lines were pretty short for the rest of the day and we got to go on lots of rides. At one point, our group split up to get on some different rides and Scott went off with my mom and some of his cousins while we went on some other rides. Later on, when I saw him again he asked me, "Are some skeletons good guys?" Amused, I told him that I supposed that some of them were good guys. It wasn't until I related this story later on that I found out that he'd been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and my sister A had tried to talk him through the scarier parts of the ride by telling him that the skeletons there were all good guys and quite nice:

Uplifting things like, "I'm sure that nice skeleton is going to share that pile of gold with the other nice skeletons," and "Oh, look at the happy, fun, nice skeletons sharing a beverage and a laugh together at what must be a skeleton cafeteria of some kind. What fun!"

There was a short period in the afternoon when I was perfectly dry. It was right after changing clothes at lunch and right before I sat in the front of our log for Splash Mountain. The wave that came over the front landed exactly in my lap.

Katie loved all the lights more than anything and she reached out to touch them as we went passed. As the evening went on we managed to get Katie on the merry-go-round, and then my sister watched her while the rest of us went on the Matterhorn. As we waited in line and heard the distant roaring, I wondered if Scott would be totally freaked out by the snow monster, so I told him over and over that the Monster wouldn't get us. When we got off the ride he shouted to those waiting, "The snow monster never gets us!"

Despite his easy escape from the snow monster, Scott still became a bit uneasy when he caught sight of the Matterhorn from a distance. It was as if he suspected that the snow monster had come down from the mountain and was searching the park for him. I reassured Scott that the snow monster never leaves the mountain. I asked him, "Why do you think he can't get out of the mountain?" Scott said, "The snow monster can't get out because he has too much tape on him." I was going to explain that he's just a robot screwed to the floor, but Scott's explanation was so great that we accepted that one instead.

High winds denied us of the fireworks show, but we still got to see the Fantasmic nighttime show on the riverfront. We set ourselves up in a really good position in advance and got Scott some popcorn to wait for the show to start at 9:05 pm.

Unfortunately, Scott slept through the whole show. It's probably for the best though -- he doesn't handle 50-foot fiery dragons or 40-foot eels very well. I heard my cousin Eric had to talk his son Ammon through the ordeal.

The Magic Kingdom looks much more magical lit up on a clear night than it does coated in a drab morning rain.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ghost Town Calico

Christmas in St. George was only the first phase of our epic family adventure. For Phase Two, we made a mad dash across the Nevada desert to Anaheim, California. Along the way we stopped in the old mining ghost town of Calico to hit the saloon and and examine the old mining carts.

Scott spotted an antique wagon on display, surrounded by a fence and exclaimed, "Look! That wagon is in jail!" Shortly thereafter, most members of our party were locked up in a jail cell on main street. However, Scott refused to go into the jail cell for a photo. He was also quite cautious about climbing around on the hill above town, choosing to crawl on all fours rather than risk a fall. He looked a bit ridiculous, but he certainly stayed safe.

In the final stretch of driving into the LA area we nearly had a puking incident that nearly developed into a crashing incident. We had given Scott a phone so that he could keep himself occupied playing Angry Birds in the back seat. unfortunately, staring at the game gave him motion sickness and he suddenly announced that he was feeling very ill. Amid our efforts to keep him from puking I didn't notice that the traffic ahead of us had come to a complete stop. R had her head down looking for a plastic bag when I hit the brakes and wasn't very impressed with it all. Despite the close calls, we came away with any vomit or dents.

We rolled into Anaheim in time for dinner at PF Chang's where the food was great and the lighting was poor for photos. The evening was perfectly still and it seemed a terrinble shame that we weren't planning on going across the street to Disneyland until the morning -- when the forecasts called for a torrential downpour.

We had a good laugh before bedtime when we heard whimpering coming from the nightstand. Apparently, Katie had crawled in there and couldn't figure out how to get out. As I came to her aid, I whipped out the camera for a quick picture.