Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Break

It's gotta be said: I was dreading it.

I promised the girls years ago that we would go to Disneyland, but because I was only going to do it once, they needed to be old enough to remember it, tall enough to ride everything and tough enough to walk all day. It is "The Happiest Place On Earth," after all - so no whining. Well, they informed me that they are now 9 and 10 and that if we wait any longer they'll be able to drive themselves there.

Darn! Was hoping they'd forgotten about the whole kit and caboodle, but alas, on Friday the 6th the girls and I piled into the car and headed west (which is why I haven't written since).

This is what happens when there is only one adult in the front seat on a road trip. I turned around to find Acacia swinging in a hammock. 

"What? I still have my seat belt on!"

First stop: Flagstaff, Arizona. We stayed in this great place (thank you, Priceline) which I swear was decorated in 1973 by Liberace, and had an excellent dinner there with Kelly (from work) and her daughter Brooke - a wonderful teenager whom Acacia watches wide-eyed.

Saturday landed us in downtown Los Angeles, swimming on the rooftop of my friend Dave's apartment building. Skids, as he's less formally known, was one of the lads I lived with in London 20 years ago. (*gasp!* Still shocks me I'm old enough to say that about a time that was so not long ago.)

Skids is a big kid himself so the girls loved him - and the pool on the roof:

A short hop north to Santa Barbara and we were on the beach with Carly and Mark, meeting her family, and hiding Easter eggs in the gorgeous garden of Carly's parents' home. Kids, eggs, sand, waves, paddle-boarding, sunsets, cocktails, sunrises, friends, watching Phantom of the Opera in the theatre downstairs...

This Spring Break was turning out all right!

When Cayenne was paddling, a head popped up next to her board: She'd been greeted personally by Oscar the local seal. 

Eggs, eggs everywhere!

On a hike with Carly, her sister, baby niece and Mark, overlooking Santa Barbara.

Tuesday... with the beach at our backs and Walt Disney's cartoon nightmare zooming toward us, it was time for the denouement. At least there was going to be a fun part: We were meeting up with Sophie and the girls' cousins Gemma and Sam - and the none of the kids knew it. Well, the big kids said they'd figured it out, but it was still a treat. Nick's sister and family had joined us in February for a fun skiing week here in Durango, so the kids just picked up where they'd recently left off.

And you know what? I had a BLAST! I knew the kids would, but I did too. Disneyland is a hoot. It's been forever since I was thrown, tossed, churned up and spit out of amusement park rides. We were even spit on at one point by a 4-D movie about bugs. The shows, lush grounds and gardens, live entertainment, organization, and the rides themselves are all so sophisticated it was truly an experience.

That said, we were lucky to enjoy some not-great weather. This is a good thing. The sun held out for us in LA and Santa Barbara, but was predicted to be so-so for Anaheim. This kept loads of people away from Disney, and left us with manageable crowds. I hear in the summer you can wait two hours for a two minute ride. No thanks!! We waited 15 minutes for most rides and one time on Splash Mountain, there was no line when we docked so just stayed on it for another go. WooHoo!

Adrenaline Junkie Acacia was in heaven. Cautious Cayenne needed some coaxing...

"Why would I want to go down a 50 foot vertical drop?!! Surrounded by water! It makes no sense!! NO!" But she did, and loved it. Said it was one of her favourites. Until the Haunted Mansion, that is - which I had to drag her into. She clenched my hand like she was headed to the hereafter herself... heart pounding, palms sweating, hating her mother. But she loved it so much she wanted to go in three more times. ha! Someday these girls will learn to trust me...Maybe.

Personally I loved Indiana Jones. You walk through thick jungle and stone caverns, through tunnels with dripping walls and snakes. And that was just to get to the ride. It was so well done Cayenne thought we were already on it.

And the California Screaming roller-coaster had a start so fast I thought I left my back teeth at the loading dock. Brilliant! Not even on Top Gear do they get from 0 to 60 so speedily. What a hoot.

Even the Ferris wheel had a twist: Each gondola was also on its own looped cable so when the wheel turned, you zoomed in some other direction.

I couldn't get pictures of the wildest rides, only those when the camera wasn't going to be ripped from my hands...

In a submarine looking for Nemo

The view from Tarzan's tree house

We ate a picnic lunch on this Mark Twain river boat

Don't let the choo-choo train fool you; Thunder Mountain is a fast roller-coaster... and Sam loved it!

This was my favourite part of the daily parade: The chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins.

With Sophie's excellent meal planning and pre-prep, our family-sized hotel room with kitchen and loft, and all the kids (3.5 year old included) walking eight hours a day without a problem, the stay was really fantastic. What a fun spring break!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring has Sprung, Colorado-Style

Saturday March 24th...

Sunday March 25th (15 minutes up the road)

That pretty much says it all, but here's a bit more just because:


March 4th

Desperately holding onto the last of the snow...

Rolling through their obstacle course


Probably planning what summer activity they were going to do the next day!

"Okay, so follow me..."


I never get sick of playing in Durango's backyard 

This is why we don't have any blinds in our house!

   Happy Spring!