1. family time. its always a treat to spend time with cousin dylan, as well as auntie julie, uncle jim, nana, papa, aunt dede, and this time even sharon, michael and amber. we enjoyed a few fun parks and lots of special time together. bennett got to enjoy special birthday attention at 2 different stops, and ella an "un" birthday celebration. how cute was that? we love you guys!
2. garate time. anthony went to college with the garates and we always enjoy our time with them, even if this visit ended abruptly when my son threw up right before dinner. hopefully they still love us :) the garate's tend to be a little on the competitive side and i notice that whenever we are together there is some little game thrown in for fun. this time it was t-ball. i've always hated sports but i figure since its a plastic bat and these are my children's memories, i'd suck it up. ella hit the ball once, i "helped" her run to 2nd base. by short stop, she walked off the field and parked it in the cute pink chair. girl after my own heart...
4. disneyland. the hottest, most crowded place on earth. ok, so that is just how we felt when we first got there, but we had so much fun. thanks michael! anthony's wonderful cousin is a huge kid at heart and a highlight of so many of our times together with the fam. his part time hobby of working at disneyland offers benefits to his family... like free admission for us! we can't tell you how grateful we are. and one of the best kept secrets at disneyland... naps at the first aid station. we couldn't have made it through the day without it. and i'm sure they would love for me to share this little secret with everyone i know.
5. watching the kids wave to the parade characters. we saw 3 parades at disney. ella refers to these as: the dry one, the wet one, and the loud one. the dry one we saw in the blazing sun. the wet one included water guns by just about every character and ella hated it. the loud one happened to be the electrical parade and we were sitting by the speaker. the loud one was the favorite.
6. the beach. is there any better place? it was cozy, cloudy and perfect. the sun did make an appearance our last day, but it was never hot (like home) and the kids could not get enough of the sand.
7. the us open. anthony enjoyed thursday at the open (thanks, curt!) and we enjoyed the day at the beach. my children even napped on the sand (can you believe it!) and i enjoyed a fantastic book (thanks, angie).
8. the pier. especially bennett stopping at every single crack to look beneath at the waves. it was so much fun to see him press his head down against the wood planks, yell "splash" and then look up with a huge smile and filthy forehead.
9. a bike ride on the boardwalk and around mission bay. we even stopped at the hotel with the seals out front, not something we see every day in good ole phoenix. anthony asked ella, "aren't those cool? wouldn't it be fun to have one for a pet?" ella's answer, "yeah, but i'd really like a snack."
10. the car ride. ok, not the actual car ride with 2 little kids. but we recently got a new kid cd of fun worship songs instead of the really annoying songs like bingo and a sailor went to sea. its a cd i can actually handle. anyhow, this trip ella listened to it enough that she started to sing along with it. i had a few tears in my eyes hearing "you are my king" and "blessed be the name of the lord" from the backseat.
and... if you are still reading, scroll on down for some more pictures.
caution: picture overload ahead.