Monday, November 29, 2010

Disney World for Dad's 60th

As I said in the long layover post, my dad turned 60 on November 15, and his one dying wish was to get the whole family together. So he and Mary Anne set everything up and flew us all to Orlando. And when I say all, I mean all of us. Me, Christopher, Jason, Jennie, and Emily, and all the spouses and kids. There were 17 of us all together. Dad rented a huge house just 10 minutes from Disney. The house was "rock-and-roll" themed, with pictures of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles, and other rock legends throughout every room. Very fun, just to go along with the fun-ness of Orlando and Disney.

The first day (Monday) was dad's birthday, so we all surprised him by wearing matching shirts which featured his face wearing his favorite Goofy hat, and a big "Happy 60th Birthday" over it.

Yes. We were that family. With matching shirts. And it was awesome. But mock it as you may - those shirts made it really easy to find the rest of our group. You know how I have a knack for wandering off and losing groups. I found somebody from the family every time. So that first day, we stuck together in the Magic Kingdom and traveled as a herd. Here's all of us on Small World:

You can see Dad in his Goofy hat there on the right. :)

We were so glad we were able to take a week off from work and make it all the way from Australia to be with the family for this. We had a lot of fun and I know it meant a lot to Dad that we made it (and survived it - a 46-hour journey with a 15-hour time change kinda messes with your sleep pattern).

And it would have been really sad to miss stuff like this:

Because that's just priceless. Oh, speaking of Ty, you need to watch this video. Normally I'd just put a link here, but I know you're lazy and you won't click on it and since I really want you to watch this, click play:

I love the slow motion part. Isa made that and we crack up every time we watch it. By the way, this is what happens when you ask us to babysit (Jason and Christy were on the Tower of Terror).

And here's another pic of Ty with Dad on the race cars. Dad never touched the wheel once. Ty drove the entire time.

So overall, super fun trip. Dad, Mary Anne, thank you for putting this all together and for making it possible for all of us to be there with you.

When you wish upon a star...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Long Layovers (New Zealand and Venice Beach)

My father's 60th birthday was just on November 15, so Isa and I flew back to the states to celebrate it with him (along with the entire family) in Disney World. We spent a week in Orlando. It was fast-paced, hectic at times, but totally worth it and super fun. But that's not what this post is about.

On the way to Orlando, we stopped in Auckland, New Zealand (for those of you that just got REALLY confused, Isa and I are currently living in Australia). It was way fun! We slept in the airport, which has an upstairs skydeck that is really quiet and peaceful and as far as we're concerned, made for sleepovers.

We started out on the floor by our bags there, and then took over the benches when they left for their flights. We had about 18 hours in New Zealand, and this was about 2am. So the next morning, we woke up and took a bus into town. We walked around Queen Street, which is their main street, but it wasn't all that interesting (although possibly because we were there on a Sunday, so maybe it's better on weekdays).

Isa had a great idea to take a ferry over to one of the neighboring suburbs - Devonport. It's such a cute little town with great views of the City.

We explored the fort on the hill and ran through the tunnels. It was a lot of fun and I'm really glad Isa saw the deal to get us out there. There are a bunch more pictures up on Facebook, so you should check those out too. After hiking around and lazing in the sun for a while, we headed back to the ferry and back into town.

And then we took the bus back to the airport and embarked on the rest of our 46-hour journey.

Less than one week later, and probably only a day or two after we fully got over our jet-lag, we headed back to Australia. This time, we had a 10 hour layover in Los Angeles. I got a message saying the newest Del Sol store had opened a few hours earlier in Venice Beach. So we found a bus and headed to the beach. Venice Beach is hippie-ghetto. It's a little crazy, to say the least. But the sand was nice and it was a beautiful day.

After a bit of wandering, we found our destination:

The store is in a great location. It's right on the beach, right in front of the skate park and where everybody hangs out. We hung out with them for a little bit, checked out the new fixtures and merchandise (we love new designs and stuff) and then headed to the beach/skate park to watch the sunset.

I love that picture, and then Isa pointed me over to a lifeguard station to get this picture:

After the sunset, we grabbed a bite to eat at a local cafe and then headed back to the airport. We had no time for another excursion in Auckland on the way back (they actually held the plane for us because our flight was a little late getting in - we were picked up by Air NZ staff and walked VIP style right to the gate and right onto the plane).

So hooray for long layovers!


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