Sunday, November 29, 2009


The kids are on a crazy schedule. It's like summer all over again. Natural body rhythms have taken over. Our evenings are extended. Molly and Finny should be tired. They had a busy day skating at Robson Square with a great family friend.

The girls are in bed and have been for some time now. They are having problems falling asleep. I keep yelling up to them to be quiet. After quick spurts of obeying, they keep NOT being quiet. Just a moment ago, Finny burst into very loud tears. I called up to ask why. Here is what I heard:

M: "Finny is upset because I told her that fairies hear everything!"

Me: "...? Huh?"

M: "She said that Santa is smarter than the Tooth Fairy!! The Tooth Fairy hears that for SURE!" [fresh and intense wailing from Finny]

What has followed (and continues now) is a lengthy conversation about the nature of fairies and if they have feelings, or bear grudges. I am at a loss...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not the best day to be the average girl at the pool...

Eric mentioned in his last post that there was a large scale invasion of bikini-clad bodies on one of our days by the pool of the Golden Nugget. Hilariously, he didn't realize until I mentioned it a couple of days ago that it WASN'T just female competitors at the was a co-ed competition and there were tons of male bodybuilders on site. Somehow he missed that.

Anyway, it was an odd day to be a normal girl poolside. Here you can see a picture of me...wearing jeans. My wee animal print mirco-kini was wet, you see. Plus, I wasn't all that happy with my last spray tan lines.

The truth is, I would much rather have all three kids piled on my lap while I relax and read a book. I may not have had a rock hard six-pack set of abs...I had a three-pack of love to cuddle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

E- The supertramps taking the long way home

The miles seem to take about twice as long coming home as they did on
the way down. Today we drove from Vegas to just outside of Salt Lake
City, which although only four hundred miles apart, felt like the
longest drive of the trip. Perhaps it's just leaving the warm sunshine
for the rain storms that await us, or the snow we are actually parked
beside tonight, but somehow the trip home is much more difficult
psychologically. We are close to the three thousand mile mark and
have been on the road for almost three weeks, so there's probably a
little fatigue factor as well.

Last week, after spending a great day at the San Diego zoo with Les'
brother PJ, we drove all evening to Phoenix. The only surprise on the
trip was being stopped a couple of times by US customs officers
looking for illegal aliens using the interstate that runs along the
Mexican border. We stayed with our friend Ed Mohs in Phoenix, who
displayed his incredible hospitality by putting us up for a couple of
nights and never showing any signs of the stress that must come from
such a dramatic change to his normal peaceful routine.

Even Lucas'
floaty incident in the hot-tub didn't seem to rattle Ed.

Les took the kids to the Phoenix science centre while I went with Ed
to look at a few foreclosures. Although prices seem to have stabilized
and are possibly increasing slightly, you can still get an incredible
amount for your money. Mostly we were looking at nice homes, less than
8 years old, in good neighbourhoods for around $80,000.

The rest of our time in Phoenix was spent relaxing and just trying to
soak up the sun, as if it were possible to somehow store it up for the
long winter ahead.

We eased into our trip home by first doing a short drive to Las Vegas.
Les proved her extreme internet bargain hunting skills again (
saved us hundreds of dollars and introduced us to many good
restaurants we would never have otherwise gone to) when she was able
to get us into the Four Queens hotel for 3 nights for $33 (total, not
each night) including all taxes and fees by using Although
it's no Caesars Palace, the hotel was more than adequate, clean,
comfortable and right where we wanted to be in old Vegas.

For the
second year in a row I got to see some guys from Delta compete at the
world championships of the combat challenge.

I also had my own challenge when we took the family to the strip one
evening at about 7 pm to experience the Vegas sites. After a couple of
hours and maybe walking half the strip, Lucas and Fin decided they had
had enough. With all their weight loaded in the front making steering
really difficult, it felt like my own extreme event navigating the
stroller through the throngs of people on the couple of mile walk back
to the car that finally ended close to midnight.

We spent a couple of hours each day in Vegas sitting by the the pool
in the sunshine and taking the girls swimming.

On one of these swims
the whole pool area was invaded by over one hundred contestants from
the Miss America Fitness competition. Although it's tough to really
complain, it was a bit of a scene having all the firefighters from the
combat challenge and all the girls in the pool at the same time.

a peaceful swim out of the question, there was nothing to do but grab
a semi-submerged lounge chair, put on some sun glasses and watch the

Of course, being in Vegas we had to take advantage of some good
eating. We ate a pretty decent prime rib buffet when we stopped at
Laughlin on our way into town. Molly went crazy fir the profiteroles,
which I don't know how to spell and which she prefers calling
"puffers". We had some good meals at Magnolias in the hotel and
treated ourselves to a room service breakfast this morning as a
goodbye to Vegas thing.

However the best food came at the Memphis
barbecue house. Another pleasant surprise from our
experience, the Memphis barbecue had big portions of really good
tasting food, at not at all unreasonable prices. Although my head may
be slightly sad to leave Vegas, I am sure my arteries are breathing a
big sigh of relief.

As soon as we left Las Vegas, the weather got progressively colder. We stopped for the night by Salt Lake City. There was snow on the hills.

Here we are outside of Boise, visiting our friends Becky and Mantia on our drive home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A penny for your thoughts...

We were walking through Caeser's Palace last night on our epic Strip
exploration (wow, distances are huge between the super-casinos). We
passed a fountain and the kids asked for pennies to toss. I gave them
each one coin and watched them chuck them into the water (Finny always
tries to fire her pennies off of a statue or something, banking them
into the fountain). The girls rushed back to give me hints about what
they wished for as they tossed their coin. Lukey listened and then,
realizing that he'd missed the point, rushed over to me to say, "I
didn't know about wishin'. I need another penny!" I handed it over.
When he came back, I couldn't resist asking him what he'd wished for.
What do nearly three year olds want, I wondered. He pointed to the
revolving doors we'd just come through. "Revolving doors?" I asked.
"Yeah! Revolving doors in our house!", he shouted.

Wish on, little buddy.
Sent from my iPhone

Friday, November 13, 2009


Finny has been on dozens and dozens of rides since we left Vancouver, but the one that she has been eagerly anticipating was only at Sea World: Elmo's Flying Fish. It is a simple ride, waaaay lamer than the others, but it has Elmo. Enough said. There were many questions of the "how many days till the flying fish" variety over the course of the trip down.

The arrival in the parking lot of Sea World resulted in a all-body Finny dance that I would make fun of, if it weren't so familiar. Eric reminded me of my near melt-down in the parking lot of Six Flags in 1994. I was so excited to get in to the roller coasters that I sort of lost it while waiting for Eric to sort out some stuff in the car. Plus, in the interests of full disclosure, I had to make a second "cool down" trip to the parking lot to recover from a hastily ingested taco salad, overlapped with too many rides. Let's just say, the kids didn't have any such problems. They are way too mature for that.

So really, I should lay off Finny and her excitement, right? Done.

Here's our girl, all jazzed up on the fish (and Molly behind us, in the Angel Fish):

Next stop, Abby's Sea Star Spin:

Then, a quick sprint to catch the 4-D Seasame Street movie (note the crazed expression):

We learned of a photo opportunity with ELMO! and Zoe. THAT wasn't to be missed. Look at the happiness on the girls' faces:

At the furry photo shoot, I caught the next picture, which might be my favourite so far. Elmo was giving Lukey a ginormous hug, but it looks like he's eaten him. It could be captioned "Cute Red Furry Monsters Gone Wild":

It almost looks like Zoe is moving to pull Elmo off. I hope Lukey's had all his shots.

Hold on, this isn't Sea-same World? What? Whales and stuff? Here at Elmo Park? We pried Finny away from the Jim Henson love-in and steered her towards the Shamu pool. We ended up watching a dolphin show and the Shamu show. Both were impressive. They have made a big effort to make the shows more education than "trick pony" oriented. The only real exception is the Shamu soak, which starts with chants of "Shamu, Shamu" and the ominous opening of a water gate to a rear pool. Then "Shamu" (I just checked and it's a trademarked name, after the original Shamu who died in 1971), circles the pool and douses the lower 14 rows of the stadium. Yes, we were in the bottom 14 rows. I had to explain to Lukey, who HATES being wet, that splashes are whale love and Shamu was giving him a cold water hug. He bought it! And in case you are wondering, we sat in the bottom rows for both shows. Suckers for punishment, I guess. Either that, or there is a part of me that also sort of believes that the splashes are whale love, too.

It occurred to me as I consoled wet Lukey that the Shamu soak is probably a true highlight in the captive whale's life. There was a saucy curve in "Shamu's" tail as she/he pushed hundreds of litres out of the pool into the faces of camera toting tourists. Even though I was one of those annoying bipeds, I enjoyed the thought of the whale's revenge.

Molly, who is a newly minted ride addict, had to do the only grown up ride at Sea World before we left. And bonus, Finny was tall enough too. The ride, Journey to Atlantis, was sort of weird, sort of good. And on the upside, the girls mostly stayed dry. Me, not so much. You can see my face of protest in the next picture. I am complaining to Eric, who stayed on dry land with Luacs.

Mt brother was in San Diego for business. We had met up with him at his pimping La Jolla hotel for an evening, but then he had to work for a couple of days. We planned to hook up again once he was done. Somehow, he managed to find us in the Sea World parking lot. We looked online to find hotel rooms for him and us, then headed to dinner. It was night two in a row of In-N-Out burger. It's good. Dangerously good. Only, bizarrely, you can't get anything good on their regular menu (except the milkshakes, where are stellar and only $1.85). You have to use their "secret" menu, which means ordering burgers "animal style". I know, it weird. But it's worth it.

We had an awesome time seeing my brother. The next day, he joined us at the San Diego Zoo. It was a nice treat to have him with us for a couple days.

E- Taking our animals to the park

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

E- Happy Anniversary

What a romantic evening...Les bloging on the netbook while I blog on
the Iphone. However we had a great day as a family, that was a
fantastic way to celebrate our 18 years together.

We went to sleep to this sky

and woke up to sunshine and warmth at San Elijo State campground. After a leisurely morning we rented a wetsuit from the
local surf school and hit the beach. The waves were far more than we
needed to bodysurf on but we were in no place to complain. The air was
in the high 70's and, the water a pretty tolerable 62, felt almost
balmy with the wetsuit on.

The girls took a few rides each on the
boogie board and spent hours building castles while Les and I tried
our best to catch some waves. Luke was pretty happy to chase the birds
on the beach but got really excited when a biplane started buzzing the


E-Sunday in Anaheim

It is now our last day in LA. Although we have had a great time, I
feel ready for a break. Starting on Wednesday we did Disneyland,
Universal, Disneyland, Universal and now California adventure on
Sunday. Les and I have done pretty much every ride and Finny and
Molly have done about half of them. The California screamin' coaster
stood out to me as the best ride and The Simpsons was good but really
weird. The rest of the family said

Finny- Splash mountain
Molly- Alice in Wonerland, Winnie the Pooh, Grizzly River, Aladin
Jane- Pirates of the Caribbean
Dave- Jurasic Park, Big Thunder Mountain
Les- California Screamin' , Splash Mountain

We had a great dinner last night at the Fire and Ice grill with my
parents. It was warm enough to eat out on the patio and the food was
fantastic. Like the Mongolian grill with a huge cooking place and bar
of seafood, steak, chicken, vegetables and sauces We ate plenty of
food and drank Coronitas (who knew there was a name for little
Coronas) for a couple of hours before walking back to the hotel.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Universal Studios (Day 2 of theme park madness)

Alright, alright. I know I am behind in blogging. Right now, we are in a slightly dodgy hotel in San Diego, planning to hit Sea World tomorrow. We also just realized that it is Veterans' Day tomorrow, so we might be sharing Shamu with every military family in the SoCal area. There should be enough whale to go around, right? Then, hopefully dinner tomorrow evening with my brother who happens to be here on business this week.

I will upload pictures from today later on, but we had a fantastic day on the beach in Encinitas. We camped (albeit for $35! for camping!) on a bluff overlooking the beach and then rented a wetsuit for the day. Eric and I body surfed all afternoon. It was glorious. And a great way to spend our 18th anniversary, which was also today. More on that in a couple of days.

Instead of all that, cast your mind back to a time not so long ago when a brave king and queen took their overstimulated prince and princess to...hold on, I have spent waaaaay too much time at Disneyland. I'll go back a few days to try and catch up.

The day after our first Disneyland adventure, we were joined by Eric's parents, who had flown to California to meet us for five days. The following morning we had a sleep in and then a swim in the sunshine at our hotel (which I would recommend, by the way...the Jolly Roger: reasonable price and stellar location).

We rallied our group of seven out the hotel door and hit Denny's for breakfast.

Our bellies full, we hit the red carpet at Universal Studios.

One potential sign that the recession is still on was the promotion offered by Universal Studios. If you buy one day's admission, you get a full year's pass for 2010. Even so, it wasn't crowded. You can see in this next picture, there wasn't exactly a huge heaving throng of humanity behind us. After our November experience, I don't think I will ever be able to imagine a visit to theme parks at any other time of year.

Characters however, were thick on the ground at Universal. Everywhere we turned, there was a six foot tall incarnation of a beloved film or TV character. Molly cracked me up, since she clearly understood that they were dressed up people, but she still wanted to hug every single one she encountered. I pity the people in the costumes. Awkward, mute interactions with kids abounded. At least it wasn't August heat for those plushy guys.

Aside from the great company they provided, having Jane and Dave along worked well, since we could more easily hop on and off rides that didn't suit all the kids. We also hit the shows, like Backdraft and Special Effects. Like Disney, I was impressed that the theme parks don't seem to skimp on value. They don't offer as little as possible, but instead appear to throw a lot at the production value of the entertainment.

We got an extra treat when our studio tour was interrupted by Jim Carey on our way past Conan O'Brien's set. It took forever to set it up, but Jim Carey ran out and shook our train. It was fun to see him live in action, but it may have been lost on the majority of our group. Jane and Dave didn't know who he was and the kids weren't too keen. Molly said at one point when we'd been stopped for a while, "These guys are wasting our time..." In fact, they sort of did. We missed our last show planned for the day, so got free tickets to return again. And since you can never have enough theme park (okay, lots of people can, just not me...), we did go back.

Here is Jim Carey (not Eric's best shot, but it was challenging...hint, he's the one pointing...):

Our tuckered out but happy crew grabbed pizza on the way back to the hotel. After all, we had to get a good night's sleep, since we were hitting Disneyland the next day! But I can only catch up one day at a time...