Friday, March 29, 2013

NW Trek

This week is my spring break, and since we didn't have plans to go out of town, we wanted to maximize our family activities that we could do during the week.  Last weekend, we spent a few days at my parent's house in Silverdale.  On Tuesday, instead of coming home directly, we decided to stop by NW Trek in Eatonville, WA (about an hour and a half drive from our house).  NW Trek is sort of like a zoo, but with animals in a more native environment.

Since my spring break doesn't seem to match up with anyone else's, the park was pretty sparse.  The first thing we did was check out a little presentation about an opossum.

We learned a lot of facts about Opossums, including the fact that they are marsupials and that they can have up to 30 babies in year.

One of the main things that you do at NW Trek is take an hour-long tram ride around the property, with a bunch of animals living in their natural environment.  

One thing that we learned is that the entire property was owned by one family, and they decided to turn it into a park.  When they bought the land, they paid $4.50 an acre.

We saw big horned sheep:


A mountain goat:


The tram ride was fun, but it felt like a little front-loaded with animals.  Toward the end, I think the tour guide was really grasping to find something interesting.

After the tour we grabbed some food to eat:

Then we went to look at some more of the animals around the park.

Bald eagles:

Snakes (notice Henry's snake face):

Henry, watch out for that bear!

Checking out the real bears:

Hi bear!

Henry enjoyed this touch dad's tongue game for a while.

Checking out our final animals.  A wolverine:

And a wild racoon:

Overall, it was a pretty fun family day with our family.  Thanks NW Trek!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Disneyland 2013

Forgive the length of this post.  In retrospect, I should have structured it like the videos that I made: in three parts. But then again, what's the fun in that?

This past February, the Nyland side of the family decided to take another trip to Disneyland.  Our last trip was in 2011 right before Henry joined us.  We were excited for this trip to expose Henry to Disneyland and to give him plenty of time to spend with his cousins.

We left on a Wednesday evening.  The rest of my family had either flown down earlier that day or the day before. We figured this would also be Henry's last free flight (before he turns 2).

When we bought our tickets, we saw that Jet Blue was going to be our cheapest option.  Neither of us had flown JetBlue before and we were pretty pleased with the experience.  One thing that was awesome was that they have live TV, thus enabling us to watch the latest episode of Top Chef.

Henry was content eating his ice.

The next day we tackled Disney's California Adventure pretty early in the morning.  Actually, the first thing that we did was go on Toy Story Midway Mania (which Henry did not like) and then we headed over to the newly opened Cars Land.

Waiting in line for our picture with Mater:

While the theming of Cars Land is pretty cool, ironically, it doesn't have very many rides, especially for its target market.  Henry was too short to get on the best ride (Radiator Springs Racers), he barely got onto the Luigi tire ride, and he wasn't allowed to go on the Mater jamboree ride (he didn't miss much).

We did the baby switch and James and Steph went on the jamboree ride.

Henry's favorite part of Cars Land?  The cars, duh.

Daddy's favorite part of Cars Land was this Apple Freeze from the Cozy Cone snack stands.  I'm still sad that I didn't get another one during the trip.

Since Stephanie was pregnant (again) during our trip.  She couldn't go on the big rides.  This gave her more time to go on rides like the rocket ships several times in a row while I went on rides like Star Tours.  This lady sure is a trouper.

This picture is before Stephanie climbed in the rocket with us.  We learned that you can't easily fit a family of three in one of the rockets.

Later that day we treated Henry to a Mickey ice cream bar.  I think that everyone deserves one on their first visit. 

Henry also learned how cool gift shops are, and the gift shops at Disneyland are filled with lots of lighting and spinny things.

The next morning we hit the park early once again.  Perfect time to take Henry on Nemo, which he was pretty into:

He was even more into Casey Jr.  Actually, you can't really tell here.  Henry was expressionless for most of our trip -- This concentration face was a good sign that he was into a ride.  We knew that he wasn't as into a ride when he said "all done" (As he did after the first waterfall drop on Pirates of the Caribbean).

On Friday, we planned to meet up with the rest of my family and my aunt's family for a character buffet breakfast.  This is become a tradition the last few times that we have been and it is really fun.

Waiting for the rest of the family to arrive:

We were a little worried that we wouldn't get our money's worth in paying for Henry's buffet.  Henry proved us wrong -- I think he's a buffet type of guy.  He's also like his father -- never balking at an offer of unlimited chocolate milk.

He was however, shy around some of the characters.

Here's our most traditional character picture that we took.  This is with Pluto in Toon Town (which FYI is still pretty lame, even if you have a toddler).

There's Henry riding with Grandma and Grandpa on Autopia.

The next day, we stuck to the usual regimen.  We went to California Adventure in the morning to meet up with family and rode the carousel.  (Notice that Henry is now sporting the very stylish and utilitarian fisherman hat/Mickey hat combo)

I did sneak away to catch a ride on the Tower of Terror with Torsten (far left).

Here's our only picture with Mickey.  We accidentally caught him at California Adventure on our way out of the park.  It was amazing to see the crowd that spontaneously formed wanting to hang out with this guy.

I actually can't remember where this photo falls in the chronology (the problem with wrangling pictures from three different cameras), but needless to say I think Henry liked the Winnie the Pooh ride.

Since we weren't going on as many big rides during our trip (because of Henry and Steph), it was fun to take some time to go on some of the rides that we may have previously overlooked.  Like this horse-drawn street car:  It was totally awesome.  Our horse was named Sully.  Henry pretty much loved it.  Check it out the next time you are in the park.

On Saturday our plan was to leave the park mid-day and head back to the condo for some time at the pool.  The weather in CA was awesome while we were there (in the high 70s), unfortunately that warmth didn't really equate into optimal pool temperatures.  The pool wasn't super warm so we didn't hang out for too long.

Back at the park, more gift shop toys to play with:

Whoever says that Disneyland is a marketing machine doesn't know what they are talking about...

Tea Cups?

We didn't buy too much for Henry on our trip but we did end up getting him this Buzz and Woody set.  He was pretty into it during our trip (and for some reason he would constantly be standing Buzz on Woody's shoulders and vice-versa).

Another often overlooked area was the wilderness trail at California Adventure.  It's pretty toddler friendly and Henry enjoyed running around there with his cousins for over an hour.

Another event that we usually skipped on our previous trips was the parades.  The thought of lining the streets and cramming up with strangers for an hour before the parade began was never really appealing to me, but you do things a little bit differently when you have kids.  In our case we ended up visiting both the parade at Disneyland and the Pixar parade at DCA.

After the parade on Saturday night my parents were kind enough to take Henry back to the condo for us and put him to bed.  Thus giving Steph and I a night together at California Adventure.  It was just like the good 'ol days of our Honeymoon Disneyland trip.

For some reason, we checked out the games in the midway area of the park.  They weren't too expensive and I kept seeing people win things, so I wanted to try it out.  I competing in this Dumbo-themed water shooting game.

Getting ready:

The carnival barker was kind enough to take a picture of me as I was competing (actually, he was really into it).

Looking at the results:

Victory is mine!

The spoils:

I guess I don't have any pictures of Sunday.  It involved going to church in Anaheim and then eating at the Cafe Rio in Tustin.  Following that we took a drive to let Henry sleep and spent a little time in Balboa.

On Monday, after visiting the park for a bit in the morning we left to meet up for lunch at Cheesecake Factory with my friends Emily and Emily.  The Emilys are some of my earliest friends from BYU and it was great to catch up with them and their growing families.  

Tuesday was our last day at the park.  Our flight left that evening, so we really only had the morning to spend at the park.  It was also supposed to be the rainiest day of our trip, so we knew that we might have to abandon our plans at any time.  We mostly wanted to do some do-overs on a couple of rides at California Adventure so we headed there first.

Giving Toy Story another go:

He liked it better this time, but he still refused to wear 3D glasses.

His favorite part of the ride:

I'm not usually a big fan of the rollercoaster California Screamin, but I decided to go on it once right before I left (In honor of Steph, who loves the ride).  It was really fun!  And I got to show Henry my terror face.

Carousel again:

The Little Mermaid again:

Monster faces on the Monsters Inc ride:

A stop in Cars Land:

We hopped back over to Disneyland about an hour before our time was up.

Obligatory Dole Whip (It looks epic, but we were bummed that the center of the cone was hollow.  Why you gotta be skimping?)

Then it started raining and we headed back to our condo to pack up and get ready for our flight.

Home again, Home Again.

Readjustment afterwards was rough.  Henry woke up the next few days saying things like "Pooh Ride", "See Grandma Grandpa", "Go e-land", and "Pirate Ship".  We are so glad that he loved the trip and loved the time that he was able to spend with his cousins.

Thanks Mom and Dad for taking us on this fun adventure.