Monday, June 25, 2007

D I S N E Y L A N D !

We were in Anaheim for 6 days and 5 nights. We spent 4 of those days in Disneyland/California Adventure. So please bear with us as we try our best to get posts and pictures up. There is so much to cover!

Day 1
We got in to Anaheim at 3 in the afternoon (after a stop in Barstow for In-n-Out) and checked into the Disneyland Hotel. I KNOW! The freakin' Disneyland Hotel! Moving on. As James is checking in, guess who should show up - Goofy! Zoe's first character meeting and we hadn't even taken the camera out of the car. After we got settled into the room we walked around the Downtown Disney District and then met up with James' boss, coworkers, and their families and went out to dinner. Our room was nice - it was in the farthest tower of the 3 and had a great view of a large parking lot, but the front was amazing - huge waterfalls and ponds. At night they turned on lights under the fountains and it was really gorgeous.

Day 2
James left for his convention (Infocomm) in the morning and then my mom and I took off for Disneyland. I decided to break our four days up by the different "lands" and day one was devoted to Fantasyland and Toon Town. The first ride of the day was Dumbo, then the Carousel. After that we did a couple dark rides (Pinocchio and Mr. Toad). Then we finished off the morning with Small World and the Storybook Land Canal boats. Zoe loved Dumbo and the Carousel, but was fairly indifferent to the other stuff - although she really hated standing in the lines. Just as we got her occupied with something we had to move. Oh well. We went home for lunch and naps. Then back to the park for Alice in Wonderland, then we met James and headed to Toontown. Zoe loved it. I regret that we spent so much time in Fantasyland when she loved Toontown - especially Goofy's playhouse (she had a meltdown when we left). She even got to meet Mickey Mouse! After we came back to the room we decided to swim a little before putting Zoe to bed, then James and I headed back to the park and went on the Matterhorn (my all-time favorite), Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Whew! What a day.

Day 3
On the menu for Wednesday was Frontierland, Adventureland, and Critter Country. I have to say - it was the BEST day of the four. We got to ride Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, and we met Tigger. Then Zoe fell asleep in the stroller (miracle of miracles) so we had lunch in the park - Rancho del Zocalo is amazing. Then we did the Jungle Cruise and the Tiki Room. We really milked the fast passes and rider switch tickets and got to do a ton of stuff. In the afternoon my friend Kelly Benson, who is in Anaheim selling pest control, came over and we laid out by the pool until James came back. So then we went on Splash Mountain (I got to go twice and got soaked the second time). And then Thunder Mountain (again) and dinner at Rancho del Zocalo again - so good. Then we got to walk right on to Pirates because everyone was crowding around for Fantasmic and the Fireworks. Right as we got out of Pirates, Fantasmic was in full swing and we had a pretty good view from the ride's exit. The greatest thing about the entire day was that we didn't have to wait in line with Zoe once!

Day 4
Thursday was reserved for California Adventure. But first my mom and I woke up super early to use our early entry to get into Disneyland. We walked as fast as could (no running in Disneyland) so we could get in line for the Finding Nemo submarine ride - it just opened up on the 11th and everyday there were huge lines (like 2-4 hours) so we went as early as we could. Then James got up with Zoe and brought her over a little later. We ended up not having to wait in line all that long (at least not for the ride) and it was awesome. Great ride. Before James had to leave us we got to meet Buzz Lightyear and ride Astroblasters. After he left, we went over to Toontown one more time for some pictures and autographs before heading to California Adventure. (As a side note, I have to say that the only disappointment I had was that there weren't many "roaming" characters. Each has a scheduled time to be in certain places and if you are not there at that time, you don't see them. We didn't see a single princess because I was not about to wait in line at the "Princess Faire" for a show I didn't care about to wade through hundreds of little girls for two seconds of face tilme with a princess! Maybe when it's not the peak season they are out and about.)
By the time we walked to the other park Zoe was asleep so we didn't get a whole lot done there before heading home for lunch. James met us in the room for lunch and then we headed back to California Adventure. We crammed in as much as possible in the few hours we had left - which really wasn't all that hard because there isn't that much to do in California Adventure. While James and I were checking out the park, my mom took Zoe over to a "puddle park" in A Bug's Land. While they were there, my mom said Zoe took 6 steps in a row (before this she has only been standing and taking one or two steps, or pivoting around one foot). Of course I forgot to leave the diaper bag and camera with my mom so we don't really have it documented. Anyway, Zoe loved A Bug's Land and had a fit when we had to leave. That night we headed to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. That proved to be a bit much for me and Zoe after our already long day and I had to leave early to put her to bed. Phew! Almost done.

Day 5
We wanted to get a fairly early start to our day on Friday but it just didn't happen. We finally got up and made our way into Disneyland to get fast passes for Space Mountain, then went to California Adventure to finish up a few rides we had missed the day before. Then back to Disneyland! We didn't have much left on our to-do list so we just took it easy. We had Zoe's sillouhette cut and played on Tom Sawyer's island. There we ran into Captain Jack Sparrow - who licked Zoe's hand, gave James a lecture on the duties of a captain, and stole my wedding ring. Really. It was great. Then we had frozen lemonade, rode Space Mountain and headed home for dinner and a dip in the pool. And then we went BACK to Disneyland for the night. We still hadn't been in the Haunted Mansion so we did that, then I got to yell at some screaming teenagers in Pirates before heading to the Jungle cruise. We thought it would be closed at night but were pleased to find it running. We finished up our day with shopping on Main Street and got Zoe her first set of ears. They even have her name - how sweet!

Day 6
We got up early and finished packing up our stuff so we could get on the road. Everything went as planned and we got my mom to the Ontarionairport with plenty of time before her flight. Zoe slept from the moment we got on the freeway until we stopped in Las Vegas at In-n-Out (yes, again). Then we drove the strip (can you believe that was my first time?) and then headed home. We pulled back into our driveway around 10:30 pm for a trip time of 12 hours. Yikes, Zoe and I are not looking forward to ever being in the car again! But we had the greatest time ever and we are so lucky that we had the opportunity to go.

Camping in Jemez

Let me just say that I couldn't have picked a better time for Zoe to be sick - so much blogging to do and she is asleep on the floor. Perfect. Poor little girl - between allergies, a bunch of new teeth, the ULTIMATE vacation, and what seems to be a little cold - she can't seem to stay awake.

Anyway. On Tuesday June 12th we drove to New Mexico to go to a family reunion in the Jemez mountains. The morning that we left, my mom called to tell me that yet another great aunt (this time my grandma's sister Annie) had passed away and that we would be attending her funeral in the middle of the trip. So not the best way to start out a trip, but at least we were there for the funeral.

So, camping with Zoe. It was great. My parents have a 5th wheel trailer so we never had to completely rough it. Zoe had a great time playing outside all day. She made a game of seeing how many times she could put pine cones or rocks in her mouth before anyone noticed. She took her naps and slept through the night so everyone was happy. Plus lots of people brought their dogs so Zoe really was in camping heaven.

On Friday we drove back to Albuquerque for Annie's funeral. I got to see some more family that weren't at the reunion and because we weren't hauling the trailer, we took the more scenic route back through the Jemez tunnels. For those of you not familiar with the area, it was a logging community where my family worked and it is absolutely gorgeous. Every other year we have the Heath reunion there - that is my dad's mom's mom's side.

On Saturday my aunt Sharon and uncle Bill brought my Grandma up along with my cousin Carrie and her family - husband Gavin and kids Madeline and Shawn. Shawn is just a few months younger than Zoe so she had someone her age to play with. Later in the afternoon there was a huge potluck lunch and Garrett and Heather came for that. After lunch we had hand-churned ice cream - SO GOOD! Then we had to pack up and return to Algodones to do laundry and prepare for the next leg of the trip.

On Sunday we had a big father's day lunch (yay, James' first father's day!) with Garrett and Heather and then we (me, James, Zoe, and my mom) left for Kingman AZ - where we stayed on our way to Anaheim and DISNEYLAND!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

We're Back!

We have been out of town since Tuesday the 12th. We just got back home last night at about 10:00pm. During our time away we had many adventures. Highlights include camping in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico and spending 6 days and 5 nights at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Needless to say, we had a good time. More posts and pictures to follow.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Farewell BBQ

Two of our favorite families in the ward are moving in the coming weeks.

The Wimmers are our next door neighbors and it has been great to know them for the past 3 years. Christian and Erin and their two boys are moving to Iowa. The will be missed. Desta is especially close to Erin and is very sad to see them leaving.

Ben and LaDonna Counihan are also moving. Ben is going to dental school in San Francisco. As many of you know, Ben, Ladonna and I have been close friends since high school. It has been great to live so close to them for the past 3 years. They have helped us out in so many ways. We will certainly miss having their great examples close by. We look forward to visiting them in San Francisco just as soon as we possibly can.

On Monday night there was a "farewell" BBQ held at the park to say goodbye to these families. Many of our closest friends came. Everyone had a great time. Here are a few pictures.

Russ Lowry, Ben Counihan, Steve Namanny

Desta, Zoe and our new neighbors, The Chamberlains

Happy Campers

We had our first overnight camping experience with Zoe on Friday night. Our ward had a camping activity at a local campground in Lehi. We looked at this experience as a test run for our camping trip to New Mexico. We had a great time and Zoe handled it pretty well. She had a little trouble getting to sleep but once she did, she slept all night.

Willow Park Campground is not the most beautiful place on earth by any stretch of the imagination (see photos) but we had a great time with all of our friends. There was plenty of food including BBQ Hamburgers and Hot Dogs for dinner and S'mores around the fire and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and fruit for breakfast.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

More fun in the park

On Tuesday morning, Zoe and I headed to the park to hang out with a bunch of our friends. We were joined by (in no particular order): Becca Shirts, Erin Wimmer, Deneal Spaulding, Annie Miller, Jessie Romney, LaDonna Counihan, and Cyndi Lowry. Plus all of their kids. It was a blast. Zoe got to show off her new talent of standing up, she got to swing and play with the wood chips. We even had lunch there. It was a perfect morning and great timing since most of these people will be moving far far away before the end of the summer (oh and it has been cold and rainy ever since we went).

Teeny Tiny Twinner Swimmers

It was Zoe's frist "pool party" on Monday and of course she made the biggest mistake ever - she wore the same swimming suit as the hostess! Yikes, that was awkward. Um, not really, I guess, since the hostess is only 3 months older than Zoe and they both looked adorable splashing around in the pool together. Check out what cute little twinners! Yes, Sadie is dripping the water from the football into her mouth. Should be a fun summer with these two...

Happy Anniversary!

Wow! I should have posted this on Monday but I have had so many projects lately that I have been lax in my blogging. As I type I really should be working on my talk for Sunday while Zoe is "napping" (read - in her crib completely awake). But on Monday was my parents' 47th anniversary! Wow. That's a lot of years to be with someone (especially someone who smells like my Dad - ha, just kidding, kind of). So congrats to my parents for making 47 years look so easy. And for any of the Eldridge clan reading this, mark your calendars for June 4, 2010 - for the big 5-0 celbration!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Will the real Zoe D'Lynn please stand up?

So Zoe and I were playing outside yesterday. She was doing her little gorilla crawl and playing with the dirt in the sidewalk cracks (her favorite thig to do outside). After a while, she pushed up, hovered over her knees, and was standing up all by herself! She did it three times and the third time she clapped before she sat back down. I would say that she is close to walking but she won't take a single step unles she is holding on to something. But we were very proud of her newest development.
Sorry there are no pictures. I can't leave her playing outside on the sidewalk for fear that she will crawl into the street (which she often tries) or eat the dirt she plays with (which she often does). But you better believe we are going to try wih all our mights to capture those first steps on video! Maybe they will be at Disneyland!