On Saturday night we got to have dinner with my beloved Luisa and her dashing husband, Patrick. It was our first in-person visit in over six years! We ate at a little cafe in Montrose and then came back to our house for dessert. I made these for dessert, minus the pumpkin part, since that's seasonal. We just had French Vanilla ice cream on top. And, minus the pecans, which, of course, would send us to the ER for Conor's allergy. And, minus the shortening in the cookie dough, because, well, can we just ban shortening already?
But, after I'd prepared that dessert, I had this little voice in my head say that somewhere, sometime, I'd read or been told that Patrick doesn't like molasses. So, just in case, I also made these, and good thing, because Patrick indeed does not like molasses, and we were covered.
I love those people. I seriously do.
On Sunday night, my brother Josiah, his wife Sarah, and their four adorable (and very quiet) children got into town for their annual Disneyland vacation. They usually spend one evening with us while they're in town and we have dinner here, but this time, we were lucky enough to get more of them. They spent the first night here at our house. We had a big spaghetti dinner, played some really fun games with all the kids, and then after the kids went to bed, we stayed up and talked. I adore Josiah and Sarah. I am so grateful that Josiah is my brother, and am so proud of him as a man, a husband, and a father. He's a good guy, and he has a terrific wife that I consider to be my sister.
On Monday, we bought a bunch of Subway sandwiches, packed up some treats, and headed for the beach. We made a stop at the Los Angeles Temple so his kids could walk around and see the new Visitor's Center, and then we continued on to Santa Monica Pier.
It was cold. The kids didn't care. They had a great time playing in the water and digging deep holes. I sat next to Josiah on one side, who was huddled in a towel to keep warm, and Lyndsay on the other side, who had to stay planted in one spot because of her broken foot.
After the beach, Josiah and his family continued on to their hotel in Anaheim, and I took my kids home. But in the morning, we all met at Disneyland! Josiah treated us to a day at Disneyland, a place I hadn't been in about 13 years! This was Conor's first trip, and I think all of us were so excited to get to see his reactions. It was a little strange being there at first. I saw different things that stirred up memories of a different life, way back when. This was my second time with Lyndsay there, and as she pointed out, "The first time you pushed me in a stroller, and now you get to push me in a wheelchair!"
Fortunately for me, Aiden did most of the pushing, gallant brother that he is, but actually the wheelchair turned out to be a great advantage, getting us to the front of nearly every line and enabling us to get on so many more rides than we would have been able to otherwise.
The first ride we went on was Pirates of the Caribbean, which is my favorite. Kind of a shocking first experience for Conor, though. He was scared, but willing, and ended up loving the magic of the rides.
I hated Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. Two of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I didn't know I could scream so loud, or clutch my five year old so fiercely for comfort. My antics were quite entertaining to my other children, but I seriously was scared out of my mind, and shaking liking a baby when I got off. When the group wanted to ride again, I politely (and firmly) declined. Why am I such a chicken? I don't know. It's not a part of me that I particularly like or am proud of, but I'm just not a fan of thrill rides. I don't know how people don't die every day on Splash Mountain. And yet, most people love it! Little children get off the ride saying, "That was my favorite! That was so much fun!" And I'm thinking, "Are you serious? You almost died!" The pictures of me that the ride takes as you come around, were quite hilarious. I didn't buy them, but Sarah took a picture of the picture on Space Mountain, which I'll post when I get it.
Josiah was very concerned that "all our Disneyland dreams come true," sweet guy that he is. And they did! We got to see everything, ride everything (except Indiana Jones, which was closed), eat amazing (and expensive) food, and have a wonderful time together. It was an awesome day.
Here we are on the Jungle Cruise:
Josiah's the cutest. He is the most excited Disneyland visitor. He knows every fact about every ride, and he documents everything. While I'm clutching the hand rails and screaming, he's videotaping. He loves Disneyland!
And here's the lovely Sarah, with three of the kids, Trenton, Camden, and Alyssa. They took much better pictures than I did and I can't wait to get a copy of the pics and video of the day we were there together. (They went back the next two days.)
Wednesday morning was back to the routine, and for me, back to school! Yep, another semester has begun and I am already feeling frantically behind, mostly because my clinical group chose me to go first for the Seminar presentation we each have to do, so I am scheduled for this Wednesday. It makes for some initial chaos, but I will be ever so grateful that it's done and off my plate come Wednesday evening.
So, up this week: the big dosage calculation exam on Monday. Must get an A, or you get one more try, and then you're out of the program. Medication calculations are kind of a big deal. Understandably. Wednesday my presentation. (EEEEEEKS!) Thursday will be our first day at the hospital. 12 hour shift. Here we go!