Outing to K1 Speed and Claim Jumper

Today Tim and all of the boys enjoyed Mom and Dad’s Christmas present to the boys. They went go-kart racing (electric cars) and then ate out. Tim and Jeffrey had raced before but it was the first time for the others. Josiah was just tall enough to race with the adults instead of the juniors. Although we weren’t sure how that would turn out, he did very well considering that it was his very first time driving anything like this.

Here we are getting ready for our first race.

Tim in the lead car with Jeffrey and the rest lined up behind. Click photo for full size.
Jeffrey getting ready to go at K1 Speed. Click photo for full size.

A photo after our second and final race of the day.

Justin, Jeffrey, Josiah (front), Jason, and Tim at K1 Speed. Click photo for full size.

After racing, we headed to Claim Jumper Restaurant for lunch/supper. By the time, we got there the time was about 4:00 PM. Jason and Jeffrey got ribs; Josiah got mac and cheese (with soda, fries, and apple slices with caramel sauce).

Jason, Jeffrey, and Josiah at Claim Jumper. Click photo for full size.

Justin got a club sandwich; Tim got a veggie wrap.

Justin and Tim at Claim Jumper. Click photo for full size.

We got two desserts: Raspberry Cheesecake and the Chocolate Motherlode Cake. We took most of the dessert home.

Taking pictures of the Raspberry Cheesecake and Claim Jumper’s famous Chocolate Motherlode Cake. Click photo for full size.

Surprise Birthday Party for Lizzie

Today Lizzie’s sisters (and mother) completely surprised her with a belated birthday/tea party. Eight of Lizzie’s friends from church came over for tea, snacks, games, and a generally good time. One of the games that they played was paper telephone which involves drawing and writing messages.

Here is Lizzie at the head of the table.

Girls around the table at Surprise Party for Lizzie. Click photo for full size.

A lot of food was prepared…fruit, vegetables, scones, cookies, mini-sandwiches, and more.

Food for Surprise Party for Lizzie. Click photo for full size.
More Food for Surprise Party for Lizzie. Click photo for full size.

Today we got over three inches of rain…which is a LOT for Southern California.

Rain during the Surprise Party for Lizzie. Click photo for full size.

New Year’s Eve 2016

Just like last year, we invited friends from church to spend New Year’s eve at our house. However, unlike last year, the weather was cool and wet so we weren’t able to play sports (like flag football) outside.

By far the favorite game of the evening was one called Fruit Bowl. Everyone chooses a fruit name (banana, strawberry, etc.). Everyone sits in a circle except for one person who stands in the center. One person in the circle is chosen to start the game by calling someone else’s fruit name. The person in the middle tries to tag the person who is called before that person calls out someone else’s fruit name. If a person gets tagged before they call out another fruit name, that person becomes the one in the center. Many people literally played this game for hours (at least six or seven hours).

Playing Fruit Bowl. Click photo for full size.

Two Japanese exchange students (who are visiting the United States with a group from their high school for nine days) spent the evening with us.

Sarah and Nicole with our Japanese friends, Kenta and Kota. Click photo for full size.

Everyone had a good time. Some people just sat or stood around and talked. A few watched the movie, National Treasure. Some played other games.

Playing Dutch Blitz, Victoria, Jayme, Katie, Christeen, Philip, and Andrew with Jeffrey watching. Click photo for full size.
Nicole at the table with Lizzie and Kristie behind her. Click photo for full size.
Gathered around the table on New Year’s Eve. Click photo for full size.

Most people stayed past midnight to ring in the new year and watch the local fireworks show going on all around our house. Here’s a group photo. Tim (the photographer) had ten seconds to get into the picture. Because he was still moving slightly, he’s a bit blurry.

Group photo from New Year’s Eve 2016. Click photo for full size.

End of Grandma Stogdill’s visit

Just as Grandma Stogdill gets ready to leave, we finally got some nice weather…sunny with a high around 70 degrees! We decided to go to Fashion Island, a mall in ritzy Newport Beach. Everyone was able to go except for Joanna who had to work.

We had lunch in the food court. Later Jason and Lizzie bought Starbucks drinks. The mall has a koi pond with quite a few large and colorful fish.

Grandma Stogdill, Josiah, Jeri, Nicole, Jeffrey, Jason, and Justin near the koi pond at Fashion Island. Click photo for full size.

A few posed as mannequins.

Jason, Jeffrey, Josiah, and Lizzie working as mannequins. Click photo for full size.

The Starbucks was busy.

Lizzie, Nicole, and Tim at Starbucks in Fashion Island. Click photo for full size.

That evening, Grandma treated us to dinner at Souplantation. Thanks, Grandma! Yummy!

Josiah, Lizzie, and Sarah going through the line at Souplantation. Click photo for full size.
Grandma Stogdill, Joanna, Nicole, and Jeffrey at Souplantation. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Lizzie, Victoria, Sarah, and Jeri at Souplantation. Click photo for full size.
Tim, Jason, and Justin at Souplantation. Click photo for full size.

A favorite activity whenever Grandma visits is playing Skip Bo, a card game.

Lizzie, Jeri, Sarah, Josiah, Grandma Stogdill, Joanna, Nicole, and Jason playing Skip Bo. Click photo for full size.

Josiah’s 11th Birthday

Today some of us went to the Irvine Spectrum (a large, outdoor shopping mall). Lizzie bought some boots and Josiah got a Starbucks drink at Barnes and Noble. Other than that, we got some exercise by walking around.

At Irvine Spectrum with Justin (back), Josiah, Grandma Stogdill, Lizzie, Joanna, and Tim. Click photo for full size.

We celebrated Josiah’s birthday. His big present was getting a Lego version of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. Jeri created a number of clues that led to his present.

Josiah receiving the Millennium Falcon on his 11th birthday. Click photo for full size.

Christmas 2016

On some Sundays, Tim will make waffles for the family. However when making waffles today, Tim made the mistake of using baking soda instead of baking powder (not the first time that he’s made this mistake). So he had to throw out the first batch. After he whipped up another batch of batter, we soon had some jalapeƱo and cheese waffles plus one chocolate batch (complete with chocolate chips). Yum!

We had church this morning and came home for lunch. Because Jeri and Nicole were still helping Eileen with her Christmas meal (provided by the senior center), we had to eat lunch (burgers and fries) without them. (Eileen is a 95-year-old blind lady who requires help on a daily basis.) Finally Jeri and Nicole make it home around 4 PM. By the time that they have finished eating and we have finished taking pictures (a painful ritual for everyone), it was 5:30 PM.

Here are Sarah and Joanna in front of the tree.

Sarah and Joanna in front of the tree. Click photo for full size.

They were joined by Lizzie and Jason.

Sarah, Joanna, Lizzie, and Jason. Click photo for full size.

Here’s our Christmas family photo.

Sarah, Victoria, Joanna, and Nicole in front. Tim, Jeffrey, Jason, Jeri, Lizzie, Josiah, and Justin in back. Click photo for full size.

Opening presents.

Jason, Victoria, Lizzie, Joanna, Sarah, and Nicole (top). Click photo for full size.

A bunch of smiling faces.

Nicole, Jason (hidden), Sarah, Victoria (way in the back), Joanna (sitting), Lizzie (kneeling), Josiah, and Jeffrey. Click photo for full size.

The lighting was terrible in this and many other photos.

Jeffrey, Tim, Sarah, Victoria, Lizzie (back), Joanna, Jeri (back), and Nicole. Click photo for full size.

Here we are joined by our guest for a week, Grandma Stogdill.

Josiah, Sarah, Victoria, Joanna, and Nicole in front. Tim, Jeffrey, Jason, Jeri, Lizzie, Justin, and Grandma Stogdill in back. Click photo for full size.

Lizzie’s 16th Birthday

We had real and fake fish tacos for supper (per the birthday girl’s request). We enjoyed two Claim Jumper pies for dessert: blackberry and chocolate silk. Yum!

Here we are singing Happy Birthday with the candles in the blackberry pie lit.

Jeri, Sarah, Lizzie, and Joanna on Lizzie’s Birthday. Click photo for full size.

Lizzie blowing them out.

Lizzie blowing out candles on her birthday pie. Click photo for full size.

Justin photo-bombed this picture.

Sarah, Jeri, Lizzie, and Joanna with Justin in the background. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a picture of Tim taking a picture. Jeffrey was playing the guitar.

Sarah, Lizzie, and Joanna getting picture taken. Click photo for full size.

Disneyland – March 17, 2016

For Tim, Jeri, Lizzie, and Josiah, today (Thursday) was the very last day to go to Disneyland before their passes expired. The rest have two days in April that they can possibly go. Today was also the last day before the Spring Break block-out dates. Knowing that the end is near, Justin, Nicole, Jason, Victoria, and Jeffrey also decided to join. Joanna had class; Sarah had stuff that she had to work on. Because we knew that the parks would be crowded, our main goal was to watch the new (and improved) fireworks show at 9:10 PM.

So we headed out after work. The first group took the van and picked up Jason from his office. The second group (Tim, Jeri, and Justin) also stopped by Jason’s office but after texting him realized that he was already in the van! Oh, well. We got the park between 6:00 and 6:30 PM.

The first group headed to Disneyland and Tomorrowland with its Star Wars attractions. The wait times were way too long. So they watched the 10-minute movie montage, “The Path of the Jedi,” which had clips from all of the Star Wars movies. Jason, Jeffrey, and Josiah did Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. The girls (Nicole, Victoria, and Lizzie) headed to Boudin’s Bakery for some sourdough bread.

Here’s Jeffrey getting the third highest score of the day on Astro Blasters! (He was helped by the fact that the ride got stopped a couple of times in some favorable locations.)

Jeffrey with third highest score of the day on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Click photo for full size.
Jeffrey with third highest score of the day on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Click photo for full size.

The second group (Tim, Jeri, and Justin) made it to Cars Land in time to catch the lighting and “Sh-Boom” (“Life Could Be Dream”). They then got Fast Passes for the California Screamin’ roller coaster. While waiting for the return time, they watched a 4-D trailer preview of the upcoming new Jungle Book movie. Following the movie, they rode the roller coaster for one last time.

California Screamin' - Justin, Jeri, and Tim. Click photo for full size.
California Screamin’ – Justin, Jeri, and Tim. Click photo for full size.

After that, everyone met up outside of the bakery. Some bought a loaf of bread and ate slices with Disney butter. Around 8:30 PM, we all headed to Disneyland to prepare for the firework show, “Disneyland Forever.” We walked through Cars Land.

Tim and Jeri in Radiator Springs. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Jeri in Radiator Springs. Click photo for full size.

Here we are next to Flo’s Cafe. Due to a reflection, Jeffrey has “zombie” eyes.

Victoria, Jeri, Jeffrey, Nicole, Josiah, Justin, and Lizzie outside Flo's Cafe. Click photo for full size.
Victoria, Jeri, Jeffrey, Nicole, Josiah, Justin, and Lizzie outside Flo’s Cafe. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie in Cars Land. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie in Cars Land. Click photo for full size.

We made it into the stores on Main Street while the “Paint the Night” parade went by. The lighted floats synchronized with the music were quite impressive.

Paint the Night Cars Float. Click photo for full size.
Paint the Night Cars Float. Click photo for full size.

After the parade, we moved into the street to pick a viewing spot for the fireworks. As the scheduled time arrived, we heard “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Due to unsafe conditions at higher altitudes, the fireworks show has been canceled.” Waah! However they did display a light show with music for a few minutes.

Disneyland Lights Up Main Street. Click photo for full size.
Disneyland Lights Up Main Street. Click photo for full size.
Jeri and Victoria after the Light Show. Click photo for full size.
Jeri and Victoria after the Light Show. Click photo for full size.

Following this, Jason, Victoria, and Josiah did Star Tours. Nicole and Lizzie did the 4-D Jungle Book preview movie. Justin and Jeffrey watched the World of Color. Tim and Jeri did Toy Story Midway Mania where the wait time was a very short under 15 minutes. After doing it once, they immediately got back on for one last time.

Jeri and Tim Selfie on Midway Mania. Click photo for full size.
Jeri and Tim Selfie on Midway Mania. Click photo for full size.

Those of use in California Adventure met up and headed out of the park. Tim and Jeri took a few minutes to do a little shopping so Tim could get a Mickey mug for his office.

Jason, Victoria, and Josiah got in the long line for the shuttle buses back to the parking lot. When the other six saw the long line, they decided that they could walk the mile back to the vehicles faster than waiting for the buses. The speed walkers (Justin, Nicole, Jeffrey, and Lizzie) got back about five minutes before the bus riders (Jason, Victoria, and Josiah). Tim and Jeri arrived the same time as the bus riders.

By the time that we made it home, it was 11:30 PM. We made it to bed after midnight!

Disneyland – March 15, 2016

On Tuesday, March 15th, 2016, five of us (Tim, Nicole, Victoria, Lizzie, and Josiah) went to Disneyland. Since our annual passes are close to expiring, we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Tim took the day off from work.

We left home at 7:30 AM, drove 30 minutes to the Disney parking lot, and took a Disney shuttle bus to the parks. The parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) opened at 8:00 AM; so we arrived a little late (8:15 AM). Josiah and Tim headed to Disneyland to sign up for the Jedi Training. The girls headed to California Adventure (CA) to try the new ride, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.

Josiah and Tim waiting to sign up for Jedi Training. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Tim waiting to sign up for Jedi Training. Click photo for full size.

By the time that Tim and Josiah made it the front of the signup line for Jedi Training, four of the six sessions were completely full and the last two were mostly full. But they got a slot for the 3:30 PM training. The girls joined us at Disneyland and we all got Fast Passes for Hyperspace Mountain (which is the Space Mountain roller coaster converted with a Star Wars theme).

We all headed back to California Adventure where we first picked up Fast Passes for the World of Color and then Fast Passes for Soarin’ over California. Because our return time for Soarin’ wasn’t too far off, we had a little time to kill before we could get Fast Passes for California Screamin’. So we did Goofy’s Sky School with a minimal five minute wait. Goofy’s Sky School is a roller coaster that makes you feel like you are going to get thrown off of it. We stopped at the Bakery Tour to get our free piece of bread.

Here’s Tim and Josiah nearing the end of Goofy’s Sky School. Nicole and Elizabeth are in the car behind us!

Tim and Josiah at Goofy's Sky School. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Josiah at Goofy’s Sky School. Click photo for full size.

After we picked up our California Screamin’ Fast Passes, we went and did Soarin’ over California. Then we returned to do California Screamin’. Here’s Tim and Josiah with a selfie in the loading area.

Tim and Josiah getting ready for California Screamin. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Josiah getting ready for California Screamin. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Josiah in the very front of California Screamin. Click photo for full size.
Tim and Josiah in the very front of California Screamin. Click photo for full size.
California Screamin' Lizzie in Front Right, Nicole and Victoria in Second Row. Click photo for full size.
California Screamin’ Lizzie in Front Right, Nicole and Victoria in Second Row. Click photo for full size.

Next we bought some sourdough bread at Boudin’s Bakery. We kept an eye on the return times for Radiator Springs Racers; we wanted to do the ride after sundown. So after a short while, we got our Fast Passes. Next we headed out of the park to to our locker to eat lunch.

After lunch, we headed to Disneyland. First stop was picking up Fast Passes for Star Tours. Next stop was to Hyperspace Mountain. Once again, our strategic use of Fast Passes saved us a LOT of wait time.

Josiah, Nicole, Victoria, Lizzie, and Tim on Hyperspace Mountain. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Nicole, Victoria, Lizzie, and Tim on Hyperspace Mountain. Click photo for full size.

After the ride, we stopped in the theater to watch a special short Star Wars film “The Path of the Jedi.”

Next we did the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Here we actually had to wait in line for maybe 20 minutes.

Storybook Land Canal Boats - Josiah, Victoria, and Lizzie on the left. Click photo for full size.
Storybook Land Canal Boats – Josiah, Victoria, and Lizzie on the left. Click photo for full size.

Nicole on Storybook Land Canal Boats. Click photo for full size.
Nicole on Storybook Land Canal Boats. Click photo for full size.

We then headed to New Orleans Square where we caught the very end of Jambalaya Jazz.

Josiah and Lizzie at New Orleans Square. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Lizzie at New Orleans Square. Click photo for full size.

Then we caught the Bootstrappers, a pirate musical group. They were a lot of fun.

Josiah, Lizzie, and Nicole listening to the Bootstrappers. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Lizzie, and Nicole listening to the Bootstrappers. Click photo for full size.

Next stop was Starbucks on Main Street. On our way, we stopped by Tarzan’s Treehouse.

Lizzie and Josiah at Tarzan's Treehouse. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie and Josiah at Tarzan’s Treehouse. Click photo for full size.

Starbucks!

Nicole, Victoria, Josiah, and Lizzie at Starbucks. Click photo for full size.
Nicole, Victoria, Josiah, and Lizzie at Starbucks. Click photo for full size.

Because the time was approaching 3:00 PM, Tim and Josiah left Starbucks and headed to the Star Wars Launch Bay to prepare for Jedi Training. The training was at 3:30 PM. We were pleasantly surprised at how much fun the show was. Josiah had a great time fighting Darth Vader!

Darth Vader appears. Click photo for full size.
Darth Vader appears. Click photo for full size.
Darth Vader approaches Josiah. Click photo for full size.
Darth Vader approaches Josiah. Click photo for full size.
Darth Vader takes on Josiah. Click photo for full size.
Darth Vader takes on Josiah. Click photo for full size.
Josiah attacks Darth Vader. Click photo for full size.
Josiah attacks Darth Vader. Click photo for full size.

Next stop was the Enchanted Tiki Room. During the show, Tim (who saw the show last week) got Fast Passes for everyone for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After the Tiki Room show (with singing, animatronic birds), we got to use our Fast Passes for Star Tours.

Nicole, Lizzie, Victoria, and Tim in line for Star Tours. Click photo for full size.
Nicole, Lizzie, Victoria, and Tim in line for Star Tours. Click photo for full size.

Lizzie, Josiah, and Victoria nearing the end of the line for Star Tours. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie, Josiah, and Victoria nearing the end of the line for Star Tours. Click photo for full size.

Now it was time to use our Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The new roller coaster is a great improvement!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Victoria, Lizzie, Nicole, Josiah, and Tim. Click photo for full size.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Victoria, Lizzie, Nicole, Josiah, and Tim. Click photo for full size.

To finish our day at Disneyland (before heading to California Adventure), we saw Captain Jack Sparrow at the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Pirates of the Caribbean - Josiah, Nicole, Victoria, Tim, and Lizzie. Click photo for full size.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Josiah, Nicole, Victoria, Tim, and Lizzie. Click photo for full size.

Finishing the ride around 6:40 PM, we knew that we had about 20 minutes to get to Cars Land. So we walked briskly out of Disneyland. We picked up our food, jackets and refilled some water bottles at our locker. Then we entered California Adventure and headed to Cars Land. We made it with five minutes to spare. We enjoyed hearing “Sh-Boom” and watching the lights come on at Cars Land.

We went to Smoke Jumpers Grill to get an order of fries and onion rings. We sat at a table and ate our supper. We stopped at Starbucks next door afterwards.

Eating supper at Smoke Jumpers Grill. Click photo for full size.
Eating supper at Smoke Jumpers Grill. Click photo for full size.

Next we did Radiator Springs Racers. Here’s a selfie in the car. Tim, Victoria, and Josiah are in the front seat. An unknown single rider along with Lizzie and Nicole are in the back seat.

In a Radiator Springs Racer. Click photo for full size.
In a Radiator Springs Racer. Click photo for full size.
Radiator Springs Racers - Tim, Victoria, Josiah, Unknown, Lizzie, and Nicole. Click photo for full size.
Radiator Springs Racers – Tim, Victoria, Josiah, Unknown, Lizzie, and Nicole. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie in Cars Land. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie in Cars Land. Click photo for full size.

Finishing the ride, we headed to Paradise Pier to get a spot for World of Color. After about a half hour wait, we watched another impressive show of video, lights, lasers, water and fire. Amazing!

Now it’s after 10 PM, so it’s time to head home. We get in line for the shuttle buses. After a few minutes, Nicole asks if we got our stuff out of the locker. Nope! So Tim dashes back to get our stuff (including the car key). Finally we make it home at 11:00 PM and bed by 11:45 PM. We were gone from the house for 15 1/2 hours! What a day.

Medieval Times

For Christmas, Joanna and Sarah bought tickets to the Medieval Times for Tim, Jeri, Elizabeth (aka Lizzie) and Josiah. We had a GREAT time! The food, entertainment, and staff were all excellent.

Waiting in line outside of Medieval Times. Click photo for full size.
Waiting in line outside of Medieval Times. Click photo for full size.
In front of a suit of armor. Click photo for full size.
In front of a suit of armor. Click photo for full size.
In front of one of many exhibits. Click photo for full size.
In front of one of many exhibits. Click photo for full size.
Tim in part of the large waiting area. Click photo for full size.
Tim in part of the large waiting area. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Lizzie in front of one of the horses. Click photo for full size.
Josiah and Lizzie in front of one of the horses. Click photo for full size.

We were in the “Green” section. So our crowns and lighting were green.

Lizzie waiting for the show. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie waiting for the show. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Jeri, and Tim waiting for the show. Click photo for full size.
Josiah, Jeri, and Tim waiting for the show. Click photo for full size.
The King and His Princess. Click photo for full size.
The King and His Princess. Click photo for full size.
On Horses. Click photo for full size.
On Horses. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie after the show. Click photo for full size.
Lizzie after the show. Click photo for full size.