I think our family’s favorite holiday is Halloween. We’ve decided to start a tradition of driving to Knott’s Berry Farm every year around Halloween. We went last year on the day of Halloween and were greeted by no lines, nice sunny weather, and a fun-filled day appropriate for a 1 year old and 3 year old. And the end of October just isn’t complete without the wonderful Ward Halloween Party and Trunk or Treat. We love this time of year!
This year we gave an earlier weekend a try to go to Knott’s and boy was it busy! Note to self- go to amusement parks on the actual holiday. Our reason for going to California in the first place was so Mike could do some computer work at the corp. office in LA. Basically, they pay for gas and hotel and we turn the business trip into a family vacation.
So we drove out Wed. evening and checked into a Hilton, woo woo! No Paris or celebs spotted, but we liked the room and the outrageous $3.50 candy bars that were loaded in the mini fridge. We resisted that expensive temptation!
Thurs. Mike went to work and I played the role of Supermom and took all 3 kiddos to the LA Zoo ALL BY MY SELF! The zoo has more square footage than the San Diego Zoo, but less # of animals. And the nice lady in front of us gave me a coupon to use, yay! I had a double stroller and Hannah was so good the whole day. She fell asleep a number of times and just let us stroll around and look at the animals. Mikey and Josh would take turns getting stroller- to- attraction treatment and really didn’t complain about all the walking they had to do. Mikey’s favorite animals were the zebras and Josh’s favorite animals were the monkeys. I really liked watching the zoo keeper feed the hippo and I was amazed at how tall the giraffes were and how enormous the elephant was. We had pizza for lunch and had to dodge the seasonal bumble bees that made their presence EVERY WHERE! Luckily no stings, just upset boys when the bees came too close for comfort. We spent all day at the zoo and could have stayed longer, but we were getting exhausted and anxious to see daddy and get some dinner.
I thought I’d go find a Little Caesar’s Pizza for dinner before we picked up Mike. I got myself extremely lost and very scared. Oh, and I really needed to use the bathroom! We were like in mtns. and no GPS to help me really. Finally I just exited the freeway, headed back from where I came, and stopped in a Baptist church that was having a craft fair! I’ve never had to go potty so bad in my life!! 2 kiddos were sleeping so I just took Mikey in with me and we did our thing. I totally ditched the pizza idea, went to get Mike, and let him google an Italian restaurant.
We ended up taking the entire family to a nice classy place where children aren’t normally allowed. We of course didn’t know this until we got there. They weren’t busy and said on the phone to come on over and they’d take care of us. We walk in and notice glass glasses of every shape and size and breakable plates. Luckily we survived that adventure! We told them to just put the kid’s food on a paper plate. I don’t even thing my kids ate very much, but our waiter was so genuinely nice. He brought out stir straws for the kids to stack into shapes and play with while we waited for our food. He gave us free gelato and even made the kids some green concoction to drink that was an Armenian drink that his kids enjoy. I wish I could remember the name of the place!
Friday- We dropped Mike off at work and I took the kiddos to Griffith Park (think Central Park, but on the west coast). First stop- Travel Town. It’s a free museum all about trains. If you know these boys then you know they l0ve their Geo Trax trains and everything relating to trains. There were real trains on tracks that the boys could climb on and lots of exhibits for their train loving and viewing pleasure. I packed a lunch for all of us and we ate at the picnic tables in Travel Town. A squirrel teased us from the nearby tree, but it was a much better lunch companion than the bees from the previous day. We of course had to ride the mini train that took us all around the park (that did cost $, but so worth the few bucks) and see all the trains and people there that day.
Next we tried to find the merry-go-round on the opposite side of Griffith Park, but got lost and came across a huge playground. We played there a bit, got scraped knees, and got back in the truck to continue on our adventure. We kind of just drove until we found another train to ride in the park. At this 3rd stop they had pony rides and train rides. Mikey had such a blast just riding all by himself on his pony. Josh had no desire so we just walked around until Mikey finished his ride. And the train ride was another small kiddie train, but we had fun riding around that little part of Griffith Park.
The kids fell asleep on the truck ride to pick up daddy, so Mike and I enjoyed some Mexican food for dinner all by ourselves when we got back to our hotel room. We were fans of the food and the quiet time.
Saturday was the long awaited day to hit the park, or farm I guess is more appropriate. We found some great discounts + an online coupon code to Knott’s Berry Farm before we left Vegas. It was cheaper admission than the Adventure Dome in town so we were thrilled with our bargain price! They decorate the entire park with Halloween themed signs, people in costumes, and decor. The kids each got a bag and treasure map to go search through Camp Snoopy (appropriately called Camp Spooky during October) to get candy at designated locations.
The weather was much colder than last year and the lines were longer than last year’s trip as well. Handing off Hannah between Mike and I pretty much guaranteed her getting NO nap that day. We got smart and as Mike was on 1 ride with the boys I would take the baby and go get in line at the next ride. The boys would then join me on the ride and Hannah and daddy would head to the next ride to wait in line. We made it work! Mikey was tall enough to go on the ferris wheel this year and he really enjoyed that. He also went on a roller coaster and sat with a nice lady who didn’t mind helping us out by having him ride with her. We ate the best Mexican lunch and then headed for the train! We, of course, had to ride the train more than once. It was a full-sized steam locomotive with train robbers and all!
Before leaving we headed across the street to see the replica full-size model of Liberty Hall. This was per Mike’s request. We then headed to my Aunt Kathryn’s house for a nice warm home cooked dinner.
No sooner do we get inside my aunt’s house and Josh pukes all over Mike. We eat a bit and then Mike heads to where ever he can find to buy new clean clothes. Josh pukes again all over my aunt’s favorite chair that’s right in front of the tv! You know, THAT chair! They help me wash him down and change him and set him on a towel on the kitchen floor, bc Hannah is crying and hungry and I have no more hands! Luckily Mikey can fend for himself and Mike makes it back with Toy Story 3 pjs which cheers little Josh up almost instantly. I guess the bright side is that puke at a relative’s house is so much better than in a vehicle! Oh man, what an adventure!
Sunday we thought about trying to be all perfect and attend a ward out there, but seeing as how pukey boy was sleeping in, we just loaded up with no hurrying and headed to the corp office to get the items needing transporting to Las Vegas. We headed home in decent time and found house nice a clean (thanks Mom!).
Ward Trunk or Treat- Our ward’s trunk or treat was the first one scheduled of the bunch we wanted to attend. We dressed up as the Berenstain Bears and invited some friends from our previous ward. Lees, McGuires, and Jenkins all came to check out our new ward with us and therefore Mikey got to hang out with his fave friends from the old ward. There was chili, trunk or treating, and fun little games and activities going on inside the church bldg.
Ironically, this was the only trick or treating we did this year! We went to the Lee’s hosue for dinner the day of their ward’s trunk or treat and ended up skipping the whole event! The kids were having so much fun playing that they chose to stay and watch a movie rather than go trunk or treating.
Pumpkin carving- Uncle Brian’s tradition is to carve pumpkins with the boys. And now that he’s married his wife Heather can join the fun too! Uncle Brian and Aunt Heather came over and helped the boys design and carve the perfect pumpkins this year. Team Brian/ Mikey were going for a spooky look while team Joshy/ Heather were just going for whatever Josh wanted at the minute (it changed from Elmo to spooky, to crazy, to silly). Hannah was just happy to be a part of it all!
Halloween fell on a Sunday so we decided we would only hand out candy this year. The boys weren’t disappointed at all and actually had a marvelous time giving out pass along cards and a candy bar to the trick or treaters.
All in all, a fun October was had by all! Now to get ready for blogging about Christmas…