Monday, September 12, 2011

Goodbye Breakfast

On Saturday morning, Nate and I woke up at 6:30am and met my parents and my sister Anna, at Cracker Barrel for some breakfast. Mom and dad were on their way home to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho after being gone for 1 month. The breakfast was great. I got turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, yogurt parfait and a blueberry muffin. Nate got some pancakes and bacon and eggs. It was sad saying bye to them for a whole year. Nate and I are leaving to London for 1 year on Tuesday so this is the last time that I will see them. Hopefully they will come visit us!

Our Driver!

Nate drove the whole 2 weeks for our trip. He is so good at everything that he does. I swear that he has a magic touch. Plus he is cute on top of it!

Universal Studios

Walking down the red carpet!

Universal Studios surprised us at how fun it was! We weren't expecting much but it was awesome. One of the fun things we did was the Jurassic Park ride. We went through a little log ride where there were lots of dinosaurs and then at the end there is a huge drop down and we got drenched! I mean, it looked like we just got out of the shower! We also did the Mummy roller coaster. It was unique because it went forwards and then backwards. We went on a tram tour through the places where they film most movies. The special effects were amazing with the water and the fire. We saw how they make cars look like they are flying up in the air after getting fired at. The special effects show was cool, and the animal show. We met the dog from Marley and Me. We ended the night with the 4D shrek ride/movie and then the Water World show, which was amazing. I would reccoment Universal Studios to anyone!

Nate's Mission

We had a really fun time going out to lunch with Nate's mission president and his wife, Brother and Sister Whitesides. We met them at Cheesecake Factory, one of my favorite restaurants. I got a chicken veggie soup, salad, and turkey sandwich and Nate got Thai chicken pasta. We shared a Reese's and Butterfinger cheesecake. So good. The Whitesides are such nice people that were so fun to visit with. It is obvious how much Nate loved them and looked up to them during his missionary service in Japan.

Disneyland Parade

Nate and I went to an animation class where we learned to draw a Disney character. We drew Winnie the Pooh. They took us through each step and they came out pretty well. I was pretty surprised!

Waiting for the parade to start......Mom and Dad saved places for us while Nate and I went and got us some yummy Dole Whip to eat and bring back to them. It is a pineapple soft serve that is to die for. They only have it at Disneyland and at the Dole plantation in Oahu. So good.

These are some pictures from the parade. My favorite in the banana man. His hat is so cool and he even had banana shoes!


We saw the World of Color Show. Wow! So good. This ferris wheel in the back is called, "Mickey's Wheel of Fun." However, Nate and I renamed it, "Mickey's Wheel of Terror." It was the most horrible ride ever! I was on a swining gondola and it would swing back and forth off the edge. It was more scary than any rollercoaster and I totally felt like I would throw up any second. I would advise everyone not to ride it!

After riding the Rushin Rivers at California Advenuture Park, there was a band playing country square dancing type music. I started dancing and acting silly and before I realized, one of the band members was joining me and grabbed my arm. We started dancing and then he pulled me up the front to learn a real dance. He grabbed Nate too. We learned this funny dance and did it in front of a crowd. My favorite part was when we "panned for gold." He had us move our hips around in circles. Super funny.

Going to Disneyland brought back so many great memories because last summer, Nate proposed to me there. It was such a special day with his parents and aunt and uncle. Nate had shirts made that said, "Will You Marry Me?" Each person had a different word on their shirt. They stood in front of the castle in a row and Nate turned me around so I could see them. I was shocked. Then he got down on one knee and proposed. Everyone was clapping and cheering. Gail got us Mickey ear bride and groom hats to wear for the rest of the day. It was such a special memory! It really is the happiest place on earth! This year, Nate and I stood in the same spot and reenacted it.....well I wanted him to, but he wouldn't. :)

This is a picture of the fireworks show at Disneyland! It was gorgeous and so amazing with the castle changing colors, the fireworks, and the music. My favorite part is when Tinkerbell and Dumbo fly across the sky and it makes you feel like they are real. This show makes anyone believe in magic!

The Jungle Cruise Ride! So much fun!

Nate was wearing his grumpy shirt that fits him well. It says: "I don't need your opinion, because I am always right."

Trying on mickey ear hats and headbands in the gift shop!

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride! Been married for almost 1 whole year, and yes! It has been a wild ride!

Hunington Beach California

We stopped in Hunington Beach California and parked our motorhome in front of Joan McDonald's house. She was so sweet to let us stay there and use her showers and beds while she went out of town. Nate met her in his ward at BYUH while she and her husband were serving a mission there. The first night we got there, we spent some time with her at this cute street fair right by the beach. Every Tuesday night they have it and it was a ton of fun. We went to a little taco stand and walked through the little shops and booths. Then before we left, we stopped and got some gelato. After sampling a ton of flavors and trying to figure out which kind to get, we finally decided. I went with Sinckers, banana chocolate chip, Heath, and Dulce de Leche. It was fun sitting and visiting over a sweet treat!

Dad and I walked out to the pier. It was so windy but beautiful! It was fun watching the fishermen and the surfers. At the end of the pier is a cute little 50's restaurant called Ruby's. They have old fashioned hamburgers and shakes and everything is 50's attire and dress. I had to stop myself from singing, "Jump Jive and Wail!" as we were walking out! :)

San Diego Temple

One of my favorite things from our trip was to go to the San Diego temple! I remember loving this temple when I was little when we went to San Diego to visit Aunt Pink. I hadn't seen it in person as an adult, but it has always been my favorite temple. In high school, I used to tell people that I had to marry someone from California, so that I could get married in this temple because it was so gorgeous! It is such a heavenly building with beautiful landscaping. We were able to do an endowment session inside and then to do some sealings afterwards. My mom has done a lot of our family history and we did the names of some of our relatives from the Simon side. It was such a special day.

San Diego Safari Park

So we bought the city passes for our motorhome adventures which gave us the following: 3 days at Disneyland, Sea World, Universal Studios, and either one day at San Diego Zoo or 1 day at Safari Park. We chose Safari Park since none of us had ever been there. Besides charging for everything inside the park after you have paid the admission fee, it is a great place! It is like a zoo but better because the animals are free to roam around as they please in their natural environment. It is as close to a African Safari as I will probably ever get!

Mom is enjoying the animals in her terminator glasses! I didn't have sunglasses the entire trip, left them at home, but home was fully covered!

We took an African tram ride around the park. It was super fun and we had a great tour guide giving us facts about the animals along the way.

Some rhinos that we saw along our tram ride.

They really did a great job making the environment look so real and natural for the animals. Besides the chainlink fences, everything else looked like we were really watching the animals in their natural environment.

The lions were some of our favorite animals at Safari Park. There was 1 male and 2 females. They said that in the wild they die after about 10 years, but because of their "Bed and Breakfast" type of lifestyle, they live to about 30 years there at the park.

They had a tram ride (we didn't do it because it was $80 a person, on top of the park admission fee) that took you around to see the animals with a private tour guide and you could feed the animals right from your ride. There were a ton of giraffes. They said that they move the animals around from zoo to zoo in the US to keep the gene pool clean. They said that they have a lot more giraffes there than normal now because they brought in a young male from a Florida Zoo that was nice with the ladies. He has impregnated 14 of the femals giraffes since he has been there! Now he has been busy. They said they are moving him away to a different zoo soon because they can't have any more of his genes.

Our cute little lion friend.

They had a group of elephants that they saved from Swaziland Africa and brought them to the park. They saved seven of them and since then, they have had nine babies in total. The moms and babies were so cute together. The babies would follow their moms around and do whatever they would do.

This little elephant was going down to the water hole to get a drink. He slipped and fell, but got right back up. He was so cute!

Me, Mom, Dad and Nate in the gift shop playing with the animal puppets. Yes, this picture was my idea.....


Mikelle and Nate........"Oooh la la, Pinkberry is so delicious!"

Vickie and Doug.........."Oh me, oh my! Give me more Pinkberry Paleeeeese!"

Erin and Reagan............"Whoa Baby! We are now officially addicted to this stuff!!!"

You are probably laughing at my comments that I wrote here, but I am SERIOUS. All of you frozen yogurt lovers out there! Watch out! Pinkberry is the best frozen yogurt I have ever eaten in my life. No joke. It even blows Red Mango out of the water, and Red Mango is dang good. They have this yogurt that is PB yogurt topped with organic strawberry jam and toasted bread crumbs. WOW!!! It tastes like a PB&J sandwich in dessert form. And I don't even like those sandwiches that much. But this.....this is dang good!

Check out Pinkberry here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hotel del Coronado

Our friends Reagan and Erin met up with us and gave us a tour of the island that they live on. It is called Coronado. You get to it from a bridge connecting off of San Diego. It is so gorgeous. The hotel there is fun to visit and tour around. It is called Hotel del Coronado.

Here is an interesting story about the hotel:

"Kate Morgan checked into the resort on November 24, 1892, and never checked out. Reports of ghostly happenings, all thought to be connected to the death of this beautiful young woman, have been circulating at The Del ever since."

"As a National Historic Landmark, the Hotel del Coronado has a rich and colorful heritage that sets it apart from neighboring Coronado hotels. From Marilyn Monroe to Charles Lindbergh, from state dinners to the ghost of Kate Morgan, The Del is an American treasure with more than 120 years of fascinating stories to tell."

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Happy 67th Birthday Mom!!! I know she will probably kill me for posting this picture is her birthday! Since we were in the motorhome with no car, we just had breakfast at home. I made pancakes and put "67" in whipped cream on top with some cinnamon chips to accent the number. For the rest of the day, we were in San Diego and Coronado (an island off of San Diego) and had fun with our friends Reagan and Erin. Happy Birthday Mom!!! We love you!

Sea World San Diego

My sweet parents, Doug and Vickie, sitting in the penguin room at Sea World, waiting for the penguin encounter to start. It was so hot outside, but the penguin room was freezing because it has to be cold for them to live. They make it as much like their natural habitat as possible. We were sitting there for a long time waiting for the show to start and we huddled together on the bench to keep warm. Dad put that paper on his head to keep the air condiitioning from hitting him. We enjoyed our snacks that we packed while we waited for it to start.

Nate and I, sitting and waiting for the penguin encounter. There were all types and sizes in the exibit together. There were some big fat ones and some little guys. they were all adult penguins but just different breeds. One interesting fact that we learned was that penguins stay warm not by their fat but by their feathers. They have a ton of feathers on them, layers and layers. Also, when a mother penguin loses her chick, she will steal another mother's chick and call it her own.

The gang. We had such a fun day. I was so lucky to spend 2 whole weeks with my three favorite people.

Nate, Mom and Dad at the shark exhibit. You can't see in this picture, but there are sharks all around them. We were walking through an underground glass tunnel so we could see all the sharks around us.

This little guy made a sound like the Dumb and Dumber "most annoying sound in the world." It was hilarious! He was pretty loud and obnoxious. He was definitly the most aggresive sea lion of the whole bunch. People could buy a pack of fish and feed the sea lions. They would beg and squack at us until a fish was thrown.

Here are some more sea lions in the sea lion area. They have so much personality!

The Shamu show was an all time favorite of the day. Wow! It was amazing! I remember loving it when I was 6 and went with my family. I remember being in awe at Shamu and how he would jump out of the water and flick water at us. The show was even better than what I remember. I was amazed at how they would jump right in beat with the music and together with all the whales. They were so entertaining.

These are their trainers. The show has changed quite a bit since the accident that happened in Orlando. A trainer was killed by one of the whales. Since then, the trainers are not allowed to get in the water with them. Sad, but it still is an excellent show.

It is amazing the tricks that they would do. They turn around in circles, clap their fins together, pose in positions, shake their heads yes and no, and jump up in the air and do flips and dives.

We also went to an amazing dolphin show. This is the stage. The trainers would give cues, the dolphins would do the tricks, and then they would get their reward- a big pile of fish. Yum!

Pretty awesome picture that I got. All the dolphins jumping in the air at the same time.

We stood in line to ride the gondola. It was a long line but it was worth the wait. It was a gorgeous sunset that night.

Nate and I on the gondola. So relaxing seeing San Diego from a whole new angle.

My cute dad and I riding the gondola.

We went to a night Shamu show called, "Shamu Rocks." The whales did tricks as they rocked out to rock-n-roll music. So much fun.