We were so lucky and took a trip, just our little clan, to California to visit Ryan's grandparents and Disneyland. I can tell which experience meant more to Kate, as whenever she is asked about her trip she says, "I visited Nona and Papa!" When prompted, she of course loves to remember Disney, but I really think she loved Nona and Papa's home more. Good to know. But for a little girl in the height of all things Princess, Disney was pretty great timing.
Ryan was so great to plan most of the trip and make sure everything went fairly smoothly. Our flights were great, our hotel was amazing. Nona and Papa were so accommodating to a young, rambunctious family. We felt so blessed to stay with them and get to know them better. Ryan even got to stand in at Nona's tennis group because one of the ladies was missing. So he played doubles with three other ladies who were all 70+, that was fun to watch!
|Nona and Papa's backyard, complete with sunshine. This was the afternoon we arrived in California, and those rays felt just fine.|
Nona and Papa live in Westlake Village, right by Thousand Oaks, CA. Their home sits on a man-made lake and almost every home has a little party boat docked out front for pleasure rides around the lake. This was a great activity for our family, Kate and Rob even got to drive! The surroundings are beautiful there!
Robby loved Nona. He pronounced her name Nana. Robby also wanted Papa to go everywhere with us. He always asked for and looked for Papa.
This is Nona's favorite Oak tree in their neighborhood. It's gigantic and gorgeous.
The "girls" walking. Nona, aka Evelyn Muller, was born in 1925 but you would never guess it. She swims and plays tennis every week (and looks better in her tennis skirt than most 25 year olds) and can actually keep up with Kate, enough said.
Paradise Cove in Malibu. Simply beautiful! We had trouble calling it a beach, as our Oregonian definition always includes winter clothing and not a spot of sun.
I wish I had better pictures of Disney, we were on the go so much it was tough to get good shots! But we had a blast.
We arrived at 8:15 am, and left at 9:15 pm. Everyone was asleep before we left, and that almost includes Ryan and I.
We ate in New Orleans, had gumbo, jambalaya, mint juleps and beignets. We saw a parade, went to the Tiki Room, Jungle Safari, and a million other things. My favorite ride was Peter Pan. Robby's favorite was Autopia, except he was just barely too small so he got to watch his favorite ride. Kate's was probably the teacups because she got to steer! Ryan's was the chair he got to sit in with the kids while they napped in the afternoon and I explored on my own. I haven't been to Disneyland since I was three, so this was basically my first run, and I loved it!
|The Dumbo ride is one of two memories I have of my first time as Disneyland. Robby loved it and loved pushing the lever up and down! I got in trouble this time for using my camera on the ride, oops.|
|Our little princess at the castle.|
|Ryan was in is eight-year-old idea of heaven when we watched a Jedi-training camp for 4-12 year olds which included dueling Darth Vader and that other red-faced guy (my apologies to Ryan for my Star Wars ignorance).|
All of Kates wildest dreams came true when she met and mingled with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. Kate said she looked very beautiful. She had planned to say, to Rapunzel, that she was glad she escaped from Mother Gothel, but the intensity of the moment overcame her and she forgot. Still, it was one amazing experience for a little girl who begs to play "Rapunzel" every waking moment.
|You can see Robby's favorite guy, besides Daddy, in the background, Buzz Lightyear.|