January 23, 2014

dreamin' of a bright christmas.

     I have been waiting for these two weeks for so long! While Jason has over a month off from school, I was lucky to get two weeks off from work for the holidays. This year, it was time to go to California to visit Jason’s family. After having a big winter storm in New York, I was even more ready for the warm sun in California.

     The real party began on Christmas Eve when we went to, where else, but Disneyland. Jason and I went with Jason’s dad and sister, Jessica and we all had so much fun. We started out with a plan to hit Cars Land first since none of us had ever been to this brand new section of the park. Cars Land was seriously adorable! It looked just like Radiator Springs from the first movie. Unfortunately, we couldn’t waste any time wondering the land because we had to get to the very back to ride Radiator Springs Racers. Even though we got to the park as soon as it opened and we went to Cars Land first, this was still by far the LONGEST line we waited in all day. The ride was really cool – we climbed into one of the cars from the movie and drove through different scenes and finally, raced another car to the end of the track.

So excited for Disney
They look just like the characters in the movie!
The Family at Cars Land
     Afterward, we stuck around California Adventure where most of the big rides are located. Personally, I thought it was a little early in the morning for all the thrills, but I managed to make it through. California Screamin’, true to it’s name, always makes me scream from the moment we take off and I always stumble off wiping tears from my eyes, but it’s so fun. From there we rode more rides and hopped over to Disneyland where we journeyed through the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Indiana Jones.
I was so happy to be at Disney again
Happiest Place on Earth
Mary Poppins and Burt!
Giant Christmas tree in Disneyland
Indiana Jones
The Haunted Mansion was decked out in Nightmare Before Christmas stuff

     I’ve wanted to get “ears” for so long, but I could never decide which ones I wanted. Finally, during this visit, I made up my mind that I absolutely had to get some. I decided to get some that I would always love, something classic; I got Miss Minnie Mouse – I really liked her polka dots. I even convinced Jason to get some ears! He went classic too and got Donald Duck - they’re really pretty cute.
Me and Sis
New found love for Minnie
Where it all began
Donald! He was so funny. . . and short
Duck season
     Christmas was fantastic! Jason and I really enjoyed giving our gifts that we put a lot of effort into picking out (or making). We also really enjoyed spending quality time with Jason’s extended family that we don’t get to see very often. It was nice catching up and seeing everybody.
Sandy had a great Christmas
Sandy loves me
Christmas morning
Mom liked the "C" I made her
     Several days later, I was so excited when Jessica asked me if I wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo. Uh, Duh! I haven’t been to a zoo in such a long time and if I have a choice of zoo to go to, of course I’d pick the largest and best zoo in the world. We three kids left in the morning to drive to San Diego and circled the parking lot a couple of times before deciding to be like everyone else and just park down the street.

I couldn't wait to see all the animals
     Once we got into the park, we started mapping out our plan around the zoo as we watched the bright pink flamingoes flap their wings, nip at each other, and bawk at the sky. Unfortunately, to get where we wanted to go, we had to go through the monkeys . . . I don’t like monkeys – they scare me. It must be because I used to have a reoccurring dream of monkeys tying my arms up and tickling me. Anyway, the scariest monkey actually was our favorite. Although I’d never want to encounter one in the wild, the Mandrill’s vivid blue face and red nose were amazing.
Their bright pink feathers were gorgeous!
Such interesting birds
This must be what the mean by "devilishly good looks"
     This zoo was incredible! I don’t know if the animals are just so happy there or maybe it was the way each of their territories were set up, but none of the animals were hiding! They were just out in the open and so easy to see and enjoy! (Except the tiger, we visited him right at lunchtime so he just paced back and forth by the door) The elephants were fantastic – there were at least five and they were so active. We of course loved the giraffes and there was a little one! Jason still has a weird fascination with the rhinos, which I’ll never understand. Oh! And the Koala’s! They were probably my favorite. The only thing I was a little disappointed we didn’t see were the pandas. I didn’t realize it was such a huge deal that they had pandas, but I should have figured it out when we saw the gigantic line to see them. There was seriously at least an hour wait to get to them and there were just simply too many other furry friends to see. Oh, how I loved that zoo.
Storks are so much larger than I imagined
There were no Red Foxes, but these brother and sister Arctic Foxes were so playful and cute
I have never seen so many elephants!
Jase and Jess
The elephants were so active!
I wanted to hug the koalas
Sleepy Koala
I wonder what a Rhinos skin feels like
This girl was so happy to see the giraffes
     The other cool thing we did was go to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore because we had family plans, but the building itself was beautiful and of course the view of LA was phenomenal. We could even see the Hollywood sign from where we were. Inside the observatory, we watched as a giant pendulum swung from the ceiling keeping time. We also saw a demonstration of an electric coil, which was pretty cool.
We had to walk quite a ways to the Observatory
It was so cool to see the Hollywood sign from where we were
One day we'll hike to the sign
Walking up the Observatory
Looking out over LA
Inside the dome is a very large telescope
Griffith Observatory
This large pendulum swings at a constant speed and keeps track of time
The ball of the pendulum weighs 240 pounds!
Many movies were filmed at this observatory; Rebel without a Cause was the most famous
     Besides these things, we just spent a lot of time together as a family watching movies, doing puzzles, playing games, eating out, shopping, and getting our nails done (oh wait, that was just me and Jess). It was just such a nice way to empty my brain and leave my worries at home and just chill. . .  in the 75 degree weather.