The Disney pictures

We’re hanging out in Phoenix, AZ with an unexpected rest day.  Unexpected but very appreciated.  We hung out with some friends last night and hope to see some family today.  There will also be a matinee of Madagascar 3.

It’s stinkin’ hot in Phoenix.  It was 111 degrees yesterday and should be the same today.  We’ve been close to that in Houston but the difference is the humidity.  I almost feel that the heat here is worse.  Or it has just been too long since I felt it in Houston?  Either way, we were able to dry some laundry outside our hotel room in under an hour which is impossible in Houston.

Here is a short summary of our Disneyland days.  Pictures are below.

We forced Katria to do a couple of bigger rides the first day to see how she would do.  We started with Space Mountain and she did pretty good.  No crying or anything.  There is a picture of all of our faces on the ride in the gallery.  After the ride I asked her what she thought and she said “I never want to do that again.”  Fair enough.

There is also a picture of me, Jared and Chelsey on Splash Mountain.  I honestly thought they wouldn’t be as scared as they were since they loved Space Mountain so much.  But apparently the lack of seat belts is a big deal.  You can see their faces at the drop time in the pictures.

We did stand in line for almost 30 minutes to see the Finding Nemo submarine ride, until they informed us that the ride had just broken down.

We had two really cool happenings on our second day in the California Adventure park.  The first was when we had just left the Toy Story 3D ride and were heading to another roller coaster.  A lady came up and asked if we were sticking around in the park for the day.  When we answered “yes” she handed us a paper and said “I’m a member and have this ‘front of the line’ pass to be used today.  Only we’re leaving for the day.  Did you want it?”

Yes, yes we did.  We ended up using the pass later in the day to walk right to the front of the Toy Story ride again.  It was sure nice to walk passed the 30 minute queue!

The other cool thing was when we headed over to the Grizzly Mountain raft ride and saw there was an 80 minute wait.  We were just about to walk away and accept that it wasn’t going to happen and a man walks up and asks “do you have Fast Passes for this ride?”  We didn’t, so he said “I have this Fast Pass good for up to 6 people.  It expires in the next couple of minutes and I’m not going to use it, did you want it?”

Um yes.  We will gladly take your pass and walk to the front of an 80 minute wait time.  And we did.  The kids all acted pretty scared the whole ride but then when we got off (and they saw I was the wettest) they announced they wanted to ride it again.  Which we didn’t (remember, the line was huge).

Jared absolutely LOVED California Screaming.  I think he would’ve ridden it all day if he could.  Kind of funny since the last time we were at the park (4 years ago), he was scared of almost every ride.  Guess he grew up a little.

Katria got to ask Crush the Turtle a question.  So she asked “How do you get into your shell?”  Crush responded that he actually couldn’t but then proceeded to show how difficult it was.  Michelle and I never saw the result, but the kids swear that after a short time of making funny faces and trying to get into his shell, Crush farted a little bit.

Chelsey’s favourite ride was Space Mountain.  She hated Splash Mountain.  She was quite the screamer on the rides with big drops; we got the impression she was having fun.  She hated “It’s a Small World”, but really, who doesn’t?

We walked A LOT over the two days.  From the hotel to the park, around the park, back to the hotel, and then repeat the next day.  Our feet got a little sore!  So on the last day we soaked our feet in the cool pool and then in the hot tub.

We definitely had fun and were glad we could do this.  We’ll be home in a couple of days but the memories of Disney will last a while.


[flagallery gid=2 name=Gallery]

Almost done and we’re sadly lacking an update

You’d think I’d find some time to post more regular updates on this 30 Days of Insanity tour, and yet here it is June 26 and I think I’ve only actually put 2 updates.  And one of them was a cream puff picture gallery!

So since we last updated y’all on this trip we’ve done the following:

Drove to Red Deer, visited family.  Inaugurated the All-Strohschein cousin Slurpee Run.

Jesus Loves Aliens
Jesus Loves Aliens cupcakes. T-Shirts still available (but cupcakes are not)

Took a 14 hour drive from Airdrie to Snohomish, WA.  That was the longest day yet, and thankfully there should be none close to that one in duration.  Also, this was the day that we found the fabled Canadian Thimble!  We stopped in at a little gift shop in Field, BC on the side of the highway and blammo!  It was hilarious how many of our friends commented that they too were searching for a thimble and couldn’t find one.  Our last resort was to buy a Canadian shot glass and just say that this is what we use for thimbles in Canada.  Michelle’s aunt made a bunch of amazing cupcakes to go with our big family supper the following night. (or “dinner” as I’m told Americans call it.  I could go on for a bit about the apparent difference…) The best looking ones being the “Jesus Loves Aliens” cupcake.

We went super cheap for lunch on the way to Oregon. Little Ceasers pizza with dollar cokes from McDonalds. Eaten at the McDonalds back door!

We then drove down the I-5 to the Salem/Newberg area.  We spent a little time at the outlet mall looking for shoes for the kids.  There was a supper/dinner date with some good friends at the Red Robin and I FINALLY found a DVD copy of the Three Amigos at a used DVD store across the parking lot from the restaurant.  I’ve been searching for that movie for a few years now.  We also visited with a bunch of family including Michelle’s grandparents and lots of uncles, aunts and cousins.  (I think the chances are strong of a couple of those relatives being upset that I put the DVD find in front of having a meal with them in this paragraph.)

One of the funny things I noticed in Oregon was my desire to ensure I kept all the receipts of our purchases in order to show the customs guards how much we spent when we went home.  It made sense to me because every time I’ve shopped in Oregon I’ve gone home, to Canada.  My brain just wasn’t remembering that while I was still visiting Oregon, home was not going to require crossing the border.

Just how cool is this? Can you spot the best part?

Leaving Oregon we drove all the way to Stockton, CA in a 10 hour day that took us through the northern mountains of California.  Later that evening in the hotel we watched an “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” that took place in Southern Oregon.  We must’ve been a little tired because we thought it was super cool that we drove past the places they were mentioning.

That’s something I should mention, the fatigue.  Early on in the trip I didn’t start feeling the driving until 6 or 8 hours in.  Now I get out of the van after a couple hours and my hips are pretty stiff already.  I’m glad that our last days of driving aren’t nearly as long as the first days.  I’m not 100% positive that I can last for many more of these long driving days.

From Stockton we drove all the way to Anaheim but stopped in Fresno to eat lunch with old friends from Mexico.  The last time we saw each other was in Mexico and they said we could come visit them anytime.  I found it slightly humorous that it ended up being in California!  It was a great afternoon and we had a lot of fun eating pizza in a park.

Anaheim (and Disneyland) has definitely been the carrot we have used to motivate the kids to keep going.  And you could see it in their eyes as the days got closer.  They have all been really tired in the past week.  I guess the 10 hour driving days, and going to bed at 10PM while getting up at 7AM has caught up with them.  But yesterday (Monday) morning at 6:30AM when we woke them up, they literally jumped out of bed and got dressed.

Feet Soaking
Soaking our tired feet in the hot tub after the last Disney day.

We then proceeded to spend 14 hours in Disneyland.  Dragging ourselves back at 8:30ish, the kids were asleep by 9.  All of us really wanted to stay awake to watch the fireworks but there just wasn’t going to be a way for three kids and two parents to all keep liking each other all the way to 9:30.  Especially since today we were back up by 7AM and doing the Disney California Adventure Park for 12 hours.  After two days our feet are beyond sore.  We decided that it wasn’t going to be wise to go back to the park for the evening.  No more walking for this family.

We could probably post another entry just for Disneyland, and in fact, I think I will!  Then I can just share little stories and pictures.  Stay tuned for that.  No guarantees on when, but there is a chance it could be tonight!

Tomorrow we’re heading out to Phoenix to see some friends and family.  It’ll be a short 6 hour drive with the first of two nasty time changes.  Going from west to east kind of messes planning up!  I hear there is a pretty severe heat wave hitting the south.  That’s going to be interesting to see how we react to the heat again.

Thanks everyone for your prayers and comments on our Facebook posts.  They are actually very encouraging as it reminds us that people care about us.  Also, we’d like to thank all the people (and there have been a lot) who have handed us cash or similar along the road.  Those gifts have been the most amazing.  Just seemingly random gifts that have had such a huge impact on us.