Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shanell and Shamu

We had a great surprise when my fabulous friend Shanell decided to come out for a visit!

We stopped by the beach after the airport, for a windy stroll and some yummy lunch. It wouldn't be California without some beach!
I found this little display on the Boardwalk so amusing. It's just not right to have ocean behind your Christmas tree! Silly Californians.

While she was here, we obviously had to go feed our wild burros. I don't know who loved it more between Evan and Shanell!We seemed to take it pretty easy the during her visit, which I think was what she needed. Not like there is really a whole ton to do in town anyways, but Evan couldn't have been happier to have a playmate with him all day every day. He and "Nell" are great buds, and he still asks me every morning "Where Nell go?"

 Shanell left us on a flex, so we took her back to the airport and continued onward to Sea World to make use of our passes one more time before the year was up.

 Evan was old enough this time to enjoy the rides, and enjoy he sure did! The firs picture is right before the ride was to start for his first time. He was SO excited!! Nate and Evan rode this Elmo's flying fish ride more times than I could count over the next 24 hours. The bottom pic is at the end of his last time riding. Pure happiness :) 
 He also loved this spinning ride, which I thought he for sure would not. It's like the teacups at Disneyland. Nate let Evan be in charge of spinning it if he wanted to, and they spun a lot! Luckily, they got to ride this one a few times, too.
 It was a lot fun to be there at Christmas time and take in a lot of there fun Christmas shows, which I always forget to take pictures of. I'm just enjoying myself!
 We watched the Polar Express 4D experience, and were so surprised that Evan sat through the whole 20 minutes and kept his glasses on, too! He actually really loved it, and always talks about the "choo choo movie with bells".

 I did manage to get pictures at the Shamu show, because we were sitting so stinking close! Our goal was to get wet, because it was a very warm 65 degrees. Shamu didn't even sprinkle us, but managed to completely soak a little family and baby about 30 rows up. Soak zone my eye...
 We let Evan go wild here after seeing Shamu and the dolphins, and not getting wet once. He was soaked from head to toe by the time we made him leave, and was definitely the only kid to play in the splash zone. Stay tuned for some awesome video...

And if the splash park was not the highlight of his Sea World trip, then this definitely was. Everytime he sees this picture, he laughs SO hard and says, "Elmo, cookie monster so funny. Say cheese, Evan!" (He obviously doesn't know who Grover is, just assumed a blue monster was cookie monster.)
 Somewhere in this same week, Evan and I also had the chance to go to Disneyland with my sister and her kids. Evan got a kick out of the huge tree, and even got to see Minnie walk right by him. He was in shock.
 We saw It's a Small World on crack, Christmas style, as my sister calls it. There was so much to look at, Evan couldn't keep up. We came out just as they turned the lights on outside, and he could not look away.
 I thought the castle looked extra beautiful, and want to make it over there one day. I don't ever manage to take pics of my kid at Disneyland, because we are usually so busy making efficient use of our time, I just snap pictures of stuff I like from my phone as we are running from ride to ride :)
 Disney Christmas is pretty magical, and I was convinced they had gingerbread blowing through the streets.
The best picture I got of the kids was riding the bus back to the parking lot, which is probably Evan's favorite ride. :) They are usually so hyper after we are done, this is really as much as you can make them hold still!

Evan at Sea World Splash Park
We probably let Evan play here like this for at least 20 minutes. We have several different videos of him trying to "catch" the water. By the end of this one, he was starting to get an audience! It made me so happy to watch him so thoroughly enjoying himself. We sure do love that kid.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All Aboard!!!

Our favorite family tradition came and went this week: The Train Man! The Sagebrush Shortline Railroad becomes more and more incredible to me each year. And although a new piece or two is added each year, they usually aren't anything real spectacular; it just continues to amaze me how much time, effort, dedication and pure heart goes in to making this happen year after year. It's also becoming more fun every time we go, because Evan is grasping it more and really loving it. This year, our tickets were set for a really windy day (the day of the infamous wind in Utah!), and I was worried our train ride would be cancelled. But by the time night arrived, the wind had calmed down a bit, it was just awfully, awfully chilly! We braved it anyway, and it was SO worth it! because no one else was there!!! We walked right on to the train, and rode back to back at least twice, maybe even three times. Plus, visited with Santa, and all of this in less than an hour. Evan hasn't stopped talking about all of the things he saw on the train ride since, and asks me at least once an hour if we can go ride the train. :)

 I was thrilled to see the "no pregnant riders allowed" rule removed from the tickets this year (although I had planned on riding no matter what!)
Evan's favorite sights along the train ride that he chatters about constantly: "boat, skeletons say, 'phew, phew!'; penguins playing; big polar bears; castle guy play drums; Santa reindeer; moon; choo choo train; bridges on water".

Oh, and I can't forget, "Santa, Merry Christmas, lap, candy!"
I was shocked that Evan wasn't scared at all to go sit on Santa's lap. We told him as we were walking over we were going to see Santa (which I wasn't even sure he knew who that was) and he just said, ok! we walked in to Santa's tent and Nate went and sat him on Santa's lap, we told him to tell Santa Merry Christmas, which he did, then Santa told Evan to say cheese so Mommy could take a picture. Evan pointed to the candy canes, looked Santa right in the eye, and said, "Candy?" So Santa gave him his cane, and Evan immediately turned to me and said "Cheese". What a pro! No crying, shaking, screaming, nothin'. When Nate picked him up off Santa's lap, Evan just turned and waved, and said, "Bye!" He was so darn cute.
And my favorite part was watching him like the kid in The Christmas Story that can't move due to his coat :)
Thanks to my sister for reminding me of a favorite Christmas treat that I can't buy here, I made my own chocolate covered cinnamon bears. It definitely satisfied my craving for them, but I may need to make them again before we get to Utah, because Nate I finished them off way too quickly! Yummy, yummy, yummy.
 Evan is definitely almost two. We have our rough days together, but he always makes up for it by having lots of good days to follow ;) When he's good, he's really good, and so much fun, and so creative, and so grown up! He talks so much, and I am always laughing at the conversations we have together. I don't know where he gets some of his information...
 These were his "funny socks" that he could not stop laughing over. He kept running between me and Nate (in different rooms) to show us his "funny socks". Then he kept telling me people that he wanted to show his funny socks to. Since it was late, and most of those people don't live here, I promised him I'd take a picture so we could show everyone he knew :)
 He can be so sweet, and lots of times when we are sitting on "Evan's couch" (this is where we have to go to have a rest from playing, according to him), he turns to me and tells me to take a picture. His words "Cheese, please, Mommy" . And just so you don't think he is asking me for food and I'm taking his picture instead, he has a certain "cheese" smile he gives me, that is usually faded by the time I can get a camera out.
Tonight he was laying like this and looking like he was playing a flute while singing, "doo doo doo". I seriously don't know where he gets this stuff! But I'm glad he does, because it sure makes my days lots more fun.