April 28, 2007

Chris and Mary's Wedding

On Friday morning we dressed in our chocolate brown wedding attire and drove to the San Diego temple. We were fortunate that the weather was beautiful. The older cousins watched the younger cousins during the ceremony.

We took pictures of the kids while the bride and groom were getting ready for their pictures.

Cousins in front of temple

Brooke and Tyler were very excited to see their uncle Chris after the ceremony.

Brooke, Chris and Tyler

Here are the bride and groom with the Etherington family.

Etherington family

After all the wedding pictures were taken, we drove to the Hotel del Coronado for the wedding luncheon. Each place setting had a little brown box filled with cream and brown M&M's printed with the date and Chris and Mary's names. Tyler and Brooke loved their little boxes. The food was delicious and it was great to be together with everyone. There was also a nice program with a couple of musical numbers. It was fun to hear how Chris and Mary had met and about their engagement.

Wedding Luncheon

The view from the luncheon room was fantastic.

Hotel del Coronado panorama

After the luncheon we went onto the beach to play. We had hoped the kids would just play on the sand, but before long they were playing in the water. Tiffany was happy that their clothes survived.

Tiffany in front of the hotel

Scott had to keep a pretty close eye on the kids because they kept getting hit by waves they weren't expecting.

Playing in the ocean

Enjoying the waves

Next the whole Etherington family went to Seaport Village, a fun place they visited often while they lived in San Diego. We wandered around the shops and had dinner.

On Saturday morning we just relaxed until it was time to check out of the hotel and head to the airport. We were glad we remembered to take a picture of our rental car. We were allowed to pick which car we wanted and Tyler picked the PT Cruiser. It was fun to drive and Tyler kept telling us how lucky we were to get a "cool" car.

Our PT Cruiser


"Now Chris and Mary don't have to be just friends."


"I want to get married here." - in the San Diego temple.
"I want flowers, pink flowers." - about her wedding.

Posted by sjbowden at 10:29 PM

April 26, 2007

Back to the Magic Kingdom

The three day Disneyland passes allowed us to enter the park one hour early on Thursday. We checked out of the hotel and were at the gates before 8 am. We were one of the first families through the gates. We used the hour well and rode most of the rides in Fantasyland.

Here are Tiffany and Brooke enjoying the Dumbo ride.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride (video)

Tyler attempted to pull King Arthur's sword from the stone.

Sword in the Stone

Brooke's favorite ride was the King Arthur Carousel. As you can tell from the picture below, she had no fear of falling off her horse.


The next attraction was the Jungle Cruise. It is as corny as ever, but the animatronics were improved from the last time we visited.

Once Disneyland started getting crowded, we went to the Princess Faire. There we waited in line for about an hour to get a chance to meet more Disney princesses. Actually, we took turns waiting in line while Brooke got to participate in Princess story time and the Princess coronation. At the coronation ceremony Brooke danced around a maypole and learned to curtsy. She also received a paper crown and a sheet of stickers to decorate the crown.

Meeting the princesses went really well. We were able to spend several minutes with each of three princesses: Belle, Mulan and Princess Minnie. It was great. We didn't feel rushed at all and even though they had professional photographers there, they didn't mind us taking as many pictures as we wanted.

With Princess Minnie

After coloring some princess coloring pages, we headed toward where we would meet Tiffany's family. Along the way we saw Peter Pan, rode on a double-decker bus down Main Street and saw Mary Poppins.

It was fun to meet up with Tiffany's family. All 23 of us had lunch together at the Cafe Orleans.

Brooke and Tyler thought Grandpa Bob's scooter was one of the best rides in the park.

Riding with Grandpa Bob

After lunch we rode Pirates of the Caribbean. It was fun to see Captain Jack Sparrow and other changes due to the movie.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Next, we went to Critter Country and waited in line to see Winnie the Pooh. While we were waiting Tigger came by and played with Tyler. He took Tyler's hat and pretended to eat it.

Here are the cousins while waiting to meet Winnie.


Winnie the Pooh

One of Tyler's favorite rides was Autopia. Tyler loved riding in the go-cart around the track. He was also thrilled to get a "driver's license." After the ride, Tyler used his Disney dollars to buy a Star Wars car.


The previous two days we hadn't stayed late enough to see the evening parade. It was fun to sit with the whole family and watch the parade.

Waiting for the parade

On the way out of Disneyland we bought Brooke a necklace that had beads with princess pictures on them. We had to take another picture of Brooke at the "Princess Castle."

Goodbye to the Princess Castle

Our last stop was the Main Street Candy shop where Tiffany got a caramel apple, Scott got chocolate, Tyler got a Mickey shaped Rick Krispie Treat and Brooke got chocolate princess coins. Then we said goodbye to Disneyland, got in our car and drove to San Diego with a late night stop for food at El Pollo Loco.


"I liked that ride, but let's not ride it again" - about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad


"I want to be a princess when I grow up, OK, daddy?" - Brooke loves princesses

Posted by sjbowden at 11:52 PM

April 25, 2007

Disneyland: the Happiest Place on Earth

We had originally planned to use Tuesday as a free day to go to the beach or just hang out. Then we discovered that the difference in price between a two day Disney pass and a three day Disney pass was only $40 total. So we drove from Carlsbad to Anaheim Tuesday morning, checked into our hotel and then walked across the street to Disneyland.

Brooke was thrilled to see the "Princess" castle. As you will see, much of our time in Disneyland revolved around princesses.

Sleeping Beauty castle

After we wandered around a little and got our bearings, we decided to have some lunch. While we were eating our pizza, Brooke jumped up and started running. Scott jumped up and chased after her. She had seen Goofy and was yelling his name and running to see him. We didn't even know that she knew Goofy's name.

Meeting Goofy

We spent the rest of the day riding on rides and having fun. We watched Jedi training which was neat, even though Tyler didn't get chosen as one of the trainees. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the day, but were very tired by the end.

On Wednesday we went into Disneyland and rode a lot more rides. Tyler didn't like any of the "scary" rides, Brooke was too short and Tiffany was too pregnant for most of the more intense rides. As a result, Scott didn't get to ride Space Mountain, the Matterhorn or Star Tours.

However, we did ride Dumbo, the carousel, It's a Small World and others.
Both of the kids loved the Mad Hatter Tea Cups. Of course we didn't spin our cup very fast, but the kids were surprisingly brave.


Later in the morning we left Disneyland and went to Disney California Adventure. We planned the time just right so that Tyler could meet Lightning McQueen and Mater in person. Tyler was thrilled and had a huge grin on his face the whole time. The cars played music and revved their engines, but didn't talk. Tyler didn't mind one bit.

Tyler and Lightning

The cars were on display for about 30 minutes. One of the members of Lightning's pit crew noticed that we had been there for the whole time and asked us if Tyler would like to wave the checkered flag for Lightning and Mater to drive off. Of course we said yes. We were glad that Tyler had such a good time because it put him in a good mood for all the princess activities that followed.

Checkered flag (video)

For lunch we arranged a meal at Ariel's Grotto with several of the Disney princesses. We met Ariel first and then were shown to our table.

Brooke and Ariel

We ordered our meals and waited for our food. We were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was.

Princess lunch

When our food arrived, Brooke was disappointed because the princesses weren't actually eating with us at our table. However, the princesses started visiting each table and Brooke was no longer disappointed. Brooke pretty much stopped eating when the princesses entered the room. Sleeping Beauty was the first princess to stop by our table. She signed Brooke's autograph book and we took several pictures.

Brooke and Sleeping Beauty

We also met Belle, Snow White and the Fairy Godmother. Tyler didn't want his picture taken with any of the princesses, but we did persuade him to pose with the Fairy Godmother.

Tyler and the Fairy Godmother

After lunch we rode the Monsters, Inc. ride, went to the Playhouse Disney show, watched the Muppet 3D movie and ended the day with the Aladdin musical. It was nice to be able to sit relax during the shows.

We returned to our hotel in the evening and met up with Tiffany's family.

Posted by sjbowden at 10:44 AM

April 22, 2007

San Diego and Legoland

We recently went to San Diego for the wedding of Tiffany's brother Chris and his fiancee, Mary.

We decided to turn our trip to San Diego into a vacation, so we flew down almost a week early. We arrived Saturday night and went straight to our hotel in our PT Cruiser rental car which Tyler loved.

On Sunday, we attended church where Tiffany did as a child. We were even a little early, so we drove to the house Tiffany grew up in before the meeting.

Tiffany's old house

We also drove by Tiffany's elementary school. Tyler was very impressed that the school is called the Burton C. Tiffany elementary school.

At church Tiffany was able to visit with many family friends. We enjoyed our time there and felt very welcome.

After church, we had lunch with Tiffany's high school friend, Emily Buck. Tyler and Brooke enjoyed playing with Emily and Mike's son, Christopher.

Tiffany and Emily

On Monday morning we went to Legoland. We were so excited to go there that we were the second car in the parking lot. We had time to buy our tickets and take pictures before the park opened. We were one of the first families in the park.


The very first thing we did in Legoland was go to "driving school". The kids loved driving the go-carts. Fortunately the cars went slowly. Brooke swerved all over the road and had to be helped repeatedly when she crashed into the curb.

Brooke at driving school

Tyler impressed us with his driving skills.

Tyler at driving school

Tyler was excited that he was able to "fight" Lego Darth Vader with a Lego lightsaber.

Darth Vader

Most of the rides were pretty tame and perfect for the ages of our children. One of the rides involved riding a car through a safari filled with animals built out of Legos. It was fun to think of Grandpa and Grandma Bowden in South Africa and to remember our trip there.


One of the things that the kids enjoyed the most was a show put on by the Lego fire department. The characters acted very silly which of course delighted both of the children, but especially Tyler.

Lego fire department

There were lots of places throughout the park to take pictures with large Lego creations such as this lion.

Hungry lion

Brooke especially enjoyed this ride as it had many fairy tale characters. She also thought it was neat when we told her that it was named after her.

Fairy Tale Brook(e)

We let the kids spend half an hour digging for dinosaur bones in the sand which was a nice break for Tiffany who was very tired of being on her feet.

Our trip would not have been complete without meeting a life-size Lego man.

Lego pirate

Later in the day we relaxed and watched a 3-D movie. We were luckly that we were able to ride on lots of rides. Fortunately the park wasn't very crowded and the lines were fairly short almost all day.

We've known for some time that Brooke is a daredevil. There was one roller coaster that Brooke was tall enough to ride. She loved it and giggled the whole time and even raised her arms in the air going downhill. Scott planned it so that Brooke went first. Then Tyler felt like he had to go on the roller coaster too. He held onto Scott the entire time.

We ended the day by shopping in the Lego store and letting the kids each choose a small souvenir.

We returned to our hotel, ate dinner and then Scott took the kids swimming at the hotel pool.

Posted by sjbowden at 9:59 PM