Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Break 2010: Family - Day Three

Sleeping in is a wonderful thing - so we did just that. My kids are not sleeper-inners, but, we didn't give them much of a choice, and after two days at Disneyland they were ready to rest. We finally got up and got ready and went to the Huntington Library to meet my Aunt Leslie for lunch. I hadn't seen her since Josh was about 5 months old. She is my uncle's former wife, but, was a wonderful aunt to me growing up and I was excited to see her.

The kids ran around the gardens for a while and then we went home and took very long naps. I think Josh even slept the longest. Then we had dinner with my Aunt Polly, Uncle John, Uncle Scott, and Aunt Heidi. Polly's friend, Mary, came over to see us as well. I have known her since I was a baby. We spent the evening visiting and then went to bed early to prepare for another day at Disneyland.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break 2010: Disneyland Day Two

The day was much cooler so we bought the kids jackets upon arrival at Downtown Disney. Our plan was to head to California Adventure and hit a few rides before going back to Disneyland. But, we needed a muffin first. We got that out of the way and then headed to Soarin' Over California, which is one of the coolest rides ever. Fortunately, Clara is now tall enough to ride it. We didn't have to mess with the whole stroller swap. Amabuela was a little terrified of the whole perceived heights thing, but she secretly loved it.

We then headed over to Monsters, Inc., before we parted ways so that Dave and I could go on Tower of Terror. Amabuela took the kids to a Playhouse Disney show and then we met to eat lunch. Dave went over to California Screamin' (big scary roller coaster) and then we headed back to Disneyland to go on the Submarine ride.

After that, we watched the Jedi Training. Josh was mesmerized, while Clara dozed in the stroller. We had plans to meet Tara Van Atta for dinner so we caught the Monorail over to Downtown Disney. Our restaurant of choice was Tortilla Jo's, which proved to be a GREAT choice. Clara actually just fell asleep and stayed that way through most of dinner, but woke up when an animal balloon making guy showed up. Josh got a fire breathing dragon balloon and Clara got a Sleeping Beauty balloon. It was a lot of fun to see Tara. We love that our friends from Virginia show up in the same places that we do. Tara moved to Southern California a couple of years ago.

After dinner we went back over to California Adventure to watch the electrical parade. It has been moved there from Disneyland. It is my favorite parade of all time and the floats just get better and better. My kids were nuts over the lights!

Clara lookin' sassy
Josh at Monster's, Inc.
Dave and Clara waiting for Monsters, Inc.
Dave and Heidi on Tower of Terror
My favorite Disney character!
Josh watching Jedi Training
Josh and Clara waiting for the Monorail
Josh and the fire breathing dragon
Clara's Sleeping Beauty Balloon
A group shot with our friend Tara

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break 2010: Disneyland Day One

But first, we drove a lot. Don't ever drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles (why are those spelled differently?) on a Sunday afternoon. Apparently that is when everyone is driving from LV to LA. It's ugly. And not just the traffic, but the terrain. Ugly.

We arrived in Arcadia in time for carne asada ala Aunt Polly. It was our text request along the way when she said, "What do you want for dinner?" We ate outside, which you can do in California year round, unlike Utah where you can eat outside for 20 minutes in mid-June before it gets too hot. My backyard gets too hot, anyway. After dinner we sat and talked and vegged and put the kids to bed.

Monday morning we woke up bright and early at 6am because Josh had lost his first tooth! After lots of celebrating and excitement, we got ready and headed to Disneyland. The first ride was supposed to be Small World, but it was down all day so we went to ToonTown (which is just a waste of space in my opinion) for a little while hoping the Small World glitch was temporary. Since it wasn't, we roamed around the rest of the park, going on rides and eating stuff. It was really busy that day and pretty hot, but our kids were amazingly well behaved. We did lose Clara for about four minutes, causing a massive anxiety attack for me, Dave, my mom, and Josh. She wandered off when we were about to have dinner. Fortunately, my mom spotted her about the time I started to hyperventilate. Needless to say, the kids didn't wander much after that experience. Clara was crying and said, "I couldn't find you!"

See pictures below.

Josh and the lost tooth.
Ama, Clara and Josh in front of Small World.
Josh in front of the whale at Storybook Land.
Dave and Clara on the boat for Storybook Land.
Josh on the carousel.
Clara on the carousel.
Clara, Ama, and Josh on the carousel.
Clara, Me, and Josh on the carousel.
Josh and Clara at Inovations. When you touch the screen it looks like water is rippling in a pond. Very cool!
Ama, Josh and Clara playing games at Inovations.
Clara and Buzz Lightyear
Josh and Me on the Dumbo ride.
Clara asleep in the stroller.
Josh and Ama snuggling. We were waiting for the parade, but it never appeared. They have, apparently, moved the electric light parade to California Adventure permanently.
Dave was a tired boy.
Happy parents after a happy day at Disneyland!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Break 2010: A Taste of Vacation

Jedi Josh - Battling the Empire

Spring Break 2010: Bunkerville, NV

Several generations ago Brigham Young said to Edward Bunker, "Go build a town with these other five families in Nevada." So Edward Bunker said, "That sounds like fun!" He hadn't seen Nevada yet, is my guess, but he bravely forged ahead. Upon arrival, he flipped a coin with a guy named Leavitt and won so the town was named Bunkerville. I don't know if that is true, but, I heard that somewhere.

Bunkerville is tucked behind Mequite, Nevada, which is marked by a giant casino/hotel, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It's one of those places that always makes me say, "What do people DO here?"

We headed for the cemetery, where we have a plethora of relatives hanging out. It's actually a cool place, where cool pictures can be taken. My mom told us stories (that she needs to write down) and Josh was very interested. Clara liked running and jumping on headstones. Hopefully no one there minds all that much.

Without further ado - meet the family.
My Great-Great Grandmother - Mary McQuarrie - born in Scotland, died in Bunkerville. 3rd wife of Edward Bunker.
My Great-Great Grandfather - Edward Bunker, Sr. - Born in Maine, died in Mexico. Was a member of the Mormon Batallion. Led a handcart company that arrived just ahead of the Willie and Martin Handcart companies. Helped found the Mormon Colonies in Mexico. Died there, but there is a monument for him in Bunkerville. Temple ordinances were done in the original Nauvoo Temple.
My Great-Great Grandmother - Lois Caroline Owen Earl - wife of Sylvester Henry Earl - Temple Ordinances completed in the original Nauvoo Temple. Sylvester was in the first company of pioneers that arrived in Utah with Brigham Young in 1847.
My Great-Grandfather - Joseph Ira Earl - 19 children (my grandfather was the youngest) - the back of his headstone is below.

My Great-Grandmother - Agnes "Viola" Bunker - she went by Viola. She was the second wife of Joseph Ira Earl, and had 10 children, but also raised the other 9 after Calista's death. Calista was her half sister. Daughters of Edward Bunker, Sr. Back of Viola's headstone below. Donal is my grandfather - Joseph Donal Earl. He is buried in Lakeside, Arizona with my grandmother, Jeanne Larsen Earl.

My mom with her grandparents and great-grandparents.
Five generations - with a skip in the middle since my grandparents aren't buried in Bunkerville.
Monument at the Church of the original settlers of Bunkerville, Nevada.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 15, 2010: Random

The other night Dave was snuggling with the kids and called me in to see what had happened.
Spring is in the air (and in my house)
Daddy is out of town, and this is how I found them asleep in my bed last night. Apparently Josh makes a good pillow.
I love that they can do this. I didn't love Josh kicking me all night.

March 12, 2010: The Ball

In order to "throw her off", I told Clara that she needed to get dressed up in a princess dress so we could go to the ball. She asked if Josh was going to be her prince, but I said no. She picked her hot pink non-descript (read: No particular characters) dress and I put her raincoat on although there was no hint of rain (read: couldn't find coat). She was so cute and sweet and kept talking about the ball and who would be there. I told her the ball was on ice.

Clara in front of the Energy Solutions Arena

After she picked out an Ariel doll from the ridiculously overpriced toy area, we found our seats and settled in for the show. I got us a pretzel and drinks and she spent some time talking to the lady sitting next to us, then informed me that she was no longer scared of the lady sitting next to us. I just kept kissing her because she is so dang cute.
Ariel was definitely the highlight of the event. Even though she could have had one of those whirly things that light up (and I hate them), she chose a toy that could go swimming with her. Smart girl. Thank you, Ama Ancy, for the money that bought it!
Disney on Ice was wonderful and beautiful and I liked it as much as Clara did. They had Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Cars Characters, Lion King Characters, Little Mermaid Characters, and Tinker Bell Characters. It was the perfect length. Clara tried and hated cotton candy. I love that she hated cotton candy.
It was still light when we got out because we went to the 4pm show, so we took pictures by the fountain at The Gateway and then headed home. She was so tired, having skipped her nap, but it was the perfect Mommy/Clara date. This was my birthday present to us and I would love to make it an annual tradition.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 5-9: New York!

Prom 1989
A long time ago (20 years) in a galaxy far far away (Phoenix), I was the best of friends with a sassy redhead named Sara. That's Sara (far right), Michelle (middle), and me (I know - bigger hair) at Prom in 1989. Our Junior year. This is Sara today. Scary how little she has changed, no? I mean, the bangs are slightly less....bangy....but other than that. For my birthday this year, Dave sent me to the Big Apple to visit Sara. I hadn't spend a significant amount of time with her since about 1990, although we have kept in touch over the years and have had an odd dinner here and there if we both happened to be in the same place at the same time. I arrived on Friday night and we went out to eat at a restaurant called Zafra, a Cuban Latino restaurant in Hoboken. We had Cebiche Tamal de Pollo con Mole Rojo for appetizers. I had the Pollo con Mole Oaxaqueño for dinner. Sara had the Camarones Coloraditos and I wish I had gotten that because I tried hers and it was exceptionally good. However, my overall assessment of Cuban food - awesome. We didn't eat until 9pm and got home at midnight so I was pretty wiped out by then.
The next morning we ate breakfast and then headed to Battery Park to catch a ferry to Ellis Island. Josh is studying national landmarks and per his instructions, I took pictures of the Statue of Liberty. Having been to New York, I had seen it before, but, never this close. I also hadn't been to Ellis Island, which turned out to be quite fascinating. I would highly recommend it - an education in how people arrived in our great country. After Ellis Island we went to a Coffee Shop to get a snack before heading to see "An Education". We wanted to preview an Oscar nominated movie since our plan was to watch them the next night. At the Coffee Shop I had calamari that was excellent. Then we headed to the movie. Afterward, we met Sara's husband, Brett, at Po. Po is in the West Village and a tiny tiny place. I say that, but most restaurants in New York seem to be very tiny. Must be why they are so expensive. I had the organic pear salad and the striped sea bass (the special) for dinner. For dessert I had the Po Sundae ("Pó Sundae" fresh mint gelato, cinnamon spiced pine nuts & chocolate sauce), which may have been the best dessert I have ever had in my life. Again, it was midnight and I was exhausted by the time we got home. However, at 3am I woke up with horrible stomach cramps and ended up spending the next hour experiencing dinner a second time. Not pretty.
We had a leisurely morning because I still wasn't feeling 100% and then headed out to Sosa Borella for lunch. I had the Pollaio - Grilled sliced chicken breast, mesclun, avocado, tomato, corn topped with gorgonzola cheese. It was a salad - very mild. Very yummy. Then we headed to the Gerschwin Theatre to see "Wicked". I have to say - loved it. Loved it more than any musical I have seen in a long time. We then headed home where Sara made three bean chili and broiled pineapple with sugared macademia nuts and a rum balsamic reduction sauce. I know - gourmet galore! We settled in to watch the Academy Awards and (what?!) their cable company and ABC were at war so it wasn't on! Read: THE OSCARS WERE NOT ON IN NYC. Yeah, you could hear the howling and weeping and wailing in the streets. Just after the timeframe that would have been the opening monologue, they suddenly came to an agreement and the show came on. Phew - dodged that bullet. We watched the rest of the Oscars and then went to bed happy.
Monday morning I headed out to wander along Washington Street in Hoboken and check out the little shops. Sara had some work to do and I was meeting my friend Dede for lunch. Dede and I spent our summers together growing up, because I spent every summer in Provo. We went to Girls' Camp, climbed trees, saw movies, went swimming, and talked about boys. I had asked a woman from Hoboken on the plane for a lunch recommendation and she said "Bin14". But first, I wandered in and out of little shops, bought a piece of chocolate, and did price comparisons on food in a little market. When I walked into Bin14 I had to laugh. Who would have thought that 20 years later I would be meeting Dede at a Wine Bar in Hoboken? Not me! I had the Roasted pear, goat cheese, bibb lettuce, Elderflower Salar and a Margherita with fresh mozzarella Pizza. Divine. Probably the best Margherita pizza I have had. Dede and I did the speed catch up on our lives and then Sara met me there to head to the Museum of Modern Art. The MoMA was having an exhibit on Tim Burton (weird guy) and Monet that we thought would be interesting. It was interesting, but it was packed. I did get to see the original costume from Edward Scissorhands. I thought the Cambell's Soup series by Andy Warhol was particularly entertaining. I'm not a huge fan of modern art, but liked some of the stuff I saw.

After the MoMA we went to Top of the Rock to see some views of the city. I had been to the top of the Empire State Building, but that was it. Never made it to the top of the WTC, unfortunately. It was a beautiful sunset. By that time we were hungry, but we took a detour so that I could see the skating rink, which is actually quite small. We jumped on the Subway and went back down to the Village to eat at The Fatty Crab. I had never had Malaysian food and was on a mission to try new things (being surrounded by chains in Utah). For appetizers we had the Green Mango with chili-sugar-salt and the Steamed Veggie Buns. I got the Malay Fish Fry - tumeric tempura, crab curry, green chili, tamaki. It was extremely spicy, but I would get it again. On the way home we got cupcakes that were kind of on the sweet side (read: too sweet) and then went to bed.

Skating in Rockefeller Center
My last day we decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and our route included a walk through Central Park. It was a beautiful pre-Spring day and even a bit warm! The Met is HUGE. Ridiculously huge. It would take a person a month going every day to get through it all. We focused on the impressionists, keeping with the previous day's theme.
Then we headed to Serendipity for lunch. The menu is ridiculous. There are so many options and it is all done in a headache inducing font. Very hard to read. I like their online menu better! I got the Monet Salad, which I have since duplicated at home, and the blackout cake (Dave's is better). You really go for the ambiance, and the fact that it was the site where John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale eat in the movie Serendipity. After lunch we headed home, and then it was time for me to get on a plane and get back to Utah. It was a great weekend and fun to see old friends! I have to say, New York has gotten a little stranger in my absence, but, I am willing to concede that I live in a quiet bubble of a small-ish town now so it could be my perspective. It didn't seem so overwhelming when I lived on the East Coast. I still could never live there, but it is a fun place to visit - especially if you are a foodie!