Monday, January 20, 2014

New Port Beach and Christmas 2013

Okay, last one and then I'm all caught up! Hopefully this will be a much shorter post.  We took our annual trip to New Port Beach just after Thanksgiving.  I love going to Newport! I could go there every year for the rest of my life!  We stayed at the Marriott Villas right off the Newport Coast.  The first day there, Russ went to a Clippers Game with an old mission buddy.  He had a blast! Mirian and I stayed back at the timeshare and checked out the playground while he was gone.  The next day, we went to see the movie Frozen.  We LOVED that movie! Even Russ enjoyed it!  It was a fun, quiet day for us. That evening, we met Russ' broker for a fantastic dinner at Parkers Lighthouse.  I really like that restaurant!

Russ at the Clippers game

This is the way to play checkers!

 Do you want to build a snowman?

On Tuesday, we went to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland!!!!! Oh, how I love Disneyland! Mirian was a little nervous about the rides at first, but she soon got over her fears and had the time of her life.  She went on all of the rides.  When we got off of Space Mountain, we asked what she thought of it.  She said "I almost fell asleep on that ride."  That girl cracks me up!  We love going to Disneyland around Christmas time, because they have the Christmas Parade and all sorts of beautiful Christmas lights.  At the end of the night, they play Christmas music and then snow falls to the ground.  It is so magical!

Does Someone look excited for Disneyland?

Mim and Dad on Dumbo

Mom on Dumbo (why do I look worried?)

Gotta love Splash Mountain! Good thing we brought ponchos!

Mim couldn't wait for Space Mountain!

Russ likes to anticipate the camera

 It's A Small World was all ready for Christmas

Sleeping Beauty's Castle all lit up

Waiting for the snow to fall

When we got back from Disneyland, Scott and Olivia and the kids showed up.  We were so happy to have them come.  We went swimming in the pool and spent time at the beach.  We found lots of anemones and even a couple starfish. Russ and I made those guys listen to a timeshare presentation so we could get $125 gift cards.  Hey, we really wanted to go eat at Cheesecake Factory, so the gift cards more than paid for our delicious meal and dessert!

Russ was trying to disturb the seagulls

Mim and Syd

Cousin love

Linc was a little stud at Cheesecake Factory

We played lots of games with Scott and Liv.  They even got me to play their epic games which I typically don't enjoy.  On our last day in Newport, we went to Balboa Island.  We were really sad we hadn't gone to Balboa Island earlier.  We took a one car ferry to the island, then we went to a cute little arcade and played ski ball.  Then we went to the beach.  They had on awesome beach there! We weren't dressed to play in the water, but we enjoyed playing in the sand and walking out on the pier.  The ocean was so beautiful! And don't forget the awesome frozen chocolate covered bananas!

Ski Ball!!!!!

A Cool Pelican at Balboa Island


 Gotta love a frozen banana

On our way home the next day, we saw a sign on the freeway saying that the freeway was going to be closed 15 miles ahead.  Apparently a huge snow storm had just hit Southern California! Cars and tours buses started to turn around in the middle of the freeway.  Cars were driving back up the on ramps.  It was total chaos! We had to find an alternate route back north.  What should have been an 8 hour trip turned into a 12 hour trip.  It was awful!  Luckily we got home okay.

If you look closely, you can see head lights facing the wrong way

Okay, moving on.  When we got home, we immediately went to get a Christmas tree (we only had 2 weeks till Christmas!)  I love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree.  Mirian loved decorating the tree!  The next weekend, Russ went to Arizona for a wedding, while Mirian and I went to our ward Back to Bethlehem night. I was in charge of making the palm trees for the night.  The church looked wonderful.  I only got on really dark picture, but it was a great experience.  It helped us to remember what the true meaning of Christmas is.  On the Sunday before Christmas, we went to Grandma and Grandpa Carlson's home for an early Christmas dinner.  We got together with all the local family and had a wonderful time.  We even had a special visitor come!

We love Christmas trees!

Russ at the wedding in Arizona

Every night we read Christmas stories

Look who came to Grandma and Grandpa's!

I asked for Real Estate

Back to Bethlehem.  Look closely and you can see one of my palm trees.

All those presents are for me!

On Christmas eve, we went to California to spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa Carter.  Christmas was wonderful!  Everyone gave and received such thoughtful presents.  Matt and Kristal made an epic movie about Judo Joe.  It was SOOOOOO funny!  I was crying from laughing so hard!  That night, Mirian woke up with the stomach flu.  She threw up several times making it a very long night.  The next morning, I got the stomach flu and then that evening, my mom got it.  This was the year of sickness!  Soon after Jeff and Marlena and their kids got the stomach flu. Russ was also down with a bug (we think maybe pneumonia?)  Needless to say, the rest of Christmas break was spend indoors, trying to feel better.  We did manage to sneak a few family pictures in though and play some games.  New Years Eve was kind of the same as the rest of the week.  My Mom, Russ, Sydney, Mirian and myself all went bowling and that was fun.  Not my best game, but it was still fun to hang out. We set off a few fireworks that night, and then played some games. Half of us went to bed early that night because we were just feeling crumby.  The next day, we had to drive home.

Mirian loved her present from Kristine and Nicole

Cousin bath time

Can you believe daffodils were blooming in December?

Thanks Kristal for making us look like a good looking bunch of people!

I love this family!

Look at that face!

I like to go bowling with my friend Bert!

Grandma in action!

This is how we all felt on the drive home