Sunday, January 29, 2017


Our friend Jared invited us to go snowshoeing up Provo Canyon on a couple weeks ago.  We deliberated a bit because we've gotten a bit out of shape in the past year, but we decided to make a go of it.  We needed to get some exercise and we especially needed to get out of the inversion in the valley.

There were three couples going, so we got together in Orem and then carpooled up to Big Springs park where the trailhead is.  (Fun fact:  that trail is where Robyn and I got engaged.  But it was during the summer when you don't have to hike through 2 feet of snow.)

Since we couldn't all fit in one car we decided to do a boy's car and a girl's car.

Obviously, both cars did group selfies.  And both cars arranged the individual members of each couple the same way.

The majority of the trail had been packed down pretty good, which was nice because I'm fat and wouldn't be able to handle breaking new trail for very long.  Along the way much cuteness ensued.
There was loving.

And kissing.
And more kissing

This is what happens when you give Jackie your phone.

The Vincis make drinking water look precious.

Eventually we arrive in a beautiful meadow.
We make the meadow look precious.

You may notice that I'm wearing shorts.  Because..  well, I was kind of hot.  Plus I don't own pants.

After that we headed back down the mountain.  It was a great little excursion with fresh air, beautiful nature and great friends.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Universal Studios

The final day of our California trip was spent in Universal Studios.

But the real focus of Universal Studios was Harry Potter world, as you'll see in a moment.

We arrived at the park and naturally had to get a selfie with the globe.

Once we got in the park, we saw Hogwarts castle and had to make a beeline for Hogsmeade.  Teanca had told us to do the other parts of Universal Studios first, because the lines would be shorter.  But we couldn't resist going to Harry Potter World immediately.
Robyn is cute in Hogsmeade.  Also, notice her Hufflepull Quidditch jersey.

Looking up at Hogwarts Castle

About to enter the caste
We went to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride and the line basically runs through Hogwarts castle.
We enjoyed admiring all the details.  They did a good job of immersing us in the wizarding world.


Dumbledore's office

The sorting hat

After the castle, we tried a cold butter beer.  It was pretty good.  And then, it was on to the rest of the park.  I don't have nearly as many pictures from the rest of the park.  I guess we were just more enamored by the Harry Potter parts.  But here are a couple pictures.
I had to get a picture next to Kwik-E-Mart.  And it was important to say, "Thank you, come again."  several times, because I'm annoying like that.

The Jurassic Park ride was super fun.  The best part was when the Tyrannosaurus jumped out and terrified Robyn.  The picture above is her recreation of the face she made.  Note: that is a velociraptor and not a tyrannosaurs, but she was equally terrified of the raptors, so it's an accurate dramatization of how she looked on the ride.
After spending a few hours riding the other various rides we headed back into Harry Potter World for lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  I was impressed by how well managed it was.  They had you stand in line to order and then they had ushers find you a seat so you weren't wandering around like vultures trying to grab a table as soon as people left.
The food was really good.  And I met a cute Hufflepuff girl there.

This time around we got a hot butterbeer which was basically butterscotch hot chocolate.  It was even better than the cold butterbeer.

Diagon Alley

The Hogwarts Express
After our afternoon exploring all of the intricacies of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley we went to a few of the other shops in Universal Studios.  They were kind of fun.  The most important thing I found were minions.  Naturally, I needed a selfie with them.

We ended our day in the early afternoon.  We had ridden all the rides we wanted, and we had explored Harry Potter World thoroughly.  We were both excited to have a few hours to just hang out in the hotel and rest up before our flight the next morning.  It was a great end to a great trip.

Friday, January 20, 2017


After our two days in Disneyland, the next part of our adventure was to take a little bit of time to slow down and go to the temple.  We left our hotel in Anaheim and headed toward L.A. to go to the Los Angeles Temple.

I really enjoyed the peaceful morning in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the past couple days.  Here are a few pictures of the temple.
This is what it looked like as we drove up to it.

One of the funny things about this temple is that there's no chapel to wait in for the session.  They just have a little bench outside of the dressing rooms, so it's kind of a segregated waiting situation.  It was a little weird, but it was fine.

After the temple, we drove in to Hollywood to pick up our niece, Teanca.  She lives there because she's an aspiring actress and future star.  We picked her up at her apartment, made fun of how ghetto her neighborhood is and then took her out for some lunch.
I saw Lando Calrissian's star outside of the restaurant.  Naturally, I took a selfie with it.

After eating, we found an empty star.  Being the embarrassing uncle that I am, I made Teanca take a picture with it because it's her future star.
We went back to the hotel and just hung out for a few hours.  I mostly fell asleep while the women folk talked.
This is what Teanca looks like while chatting in the hotel room.

This is what Robyn looks like while chatting in the hotel room.
We decided that our evening adventure should be going to see Star Wars in the Chinese Theater.
I know that no one else understands how important the Chinese Theater is.  But that's the theater where the original Star Wars premiered.  AND I SAW STAR WARS THERE!

We walked to the theater which meant walking through downtown Hollywood.  Robyn was terrified of all of the people dwelling in Hollywood after dark.  I thought they were amusing.  The funniest thing that happened was a big guy/girl (I know I'm supposed to call the individual by how they identify, but they didn't tell me how they identify.  It looked like a guy with breasts.) came up to me and said, "Well, you're a big boy aren't you?"  I just said, "That's correct!" and kept walking.
This is what Teanca and Robyn look like on the walk of fame.  They're walking.  And they're famous.

Me at the Chinese Theater.  I'm not sure why the guy behind me looks like a zombie.

Me with the Death Star Plans.

The women folk taking a selfie before Star Wars.
It was a fun day.  I got to cross something off my nerd bucket list and we got to hang out with a rising star before she becomes famous.  I'd call that a success.

Monday, January 9, 2017

California Adventure!

After our day in Disneyland, the next day was spent primarily in California Adventure.  (Although, we did spend some time in the main park, as you'll see below.)

Much like the previous day, we got there about 15 minutes before the park opened so that we could be part of the initial rush to our favorite rides.  We marched right behind the Disney employees and went straight for Tower of Terror.  (Tower of Terror was a huge reason for taking this trip, so it was very important.)  Everyone was rushing to get in line for the ride, but no one was getting fast passes.  So we grabbed a fast pass and then went straight to Soarin' Over the world.

Just look at that cutie ready to soar over the world.

That was the right way to do it.  The line for Soarin' was only 15 or 20 minutes, which made it perfect for us to come back to Tower of Terror to use our fast pass.
This is me about to enter another dimension.

It's important to take a picture of the picture.

Robyn was wearing her Captain America shirt, so obviously she needed to pose in front of a sign welcoming her.

 At lunch time we headed back into the Disneyland park for our lunch at Blue Bayou.  It was really neat.  I had order envy though, because my chicken was nowhere near as good as Robyn's Monte Cristo sandwich.

The LED lights in the lemonade were really cool.

The famous Monte Criso
Despite my order envy, the food was really good.  And the atmosphere was really fun.  It was just like being in the bayou at night.  (At least, I imagine it's what it's like.  I should say, it was just like being outside next to a river at night.  I've never actually been in the bayou.)

After lunch we went back to California Adventure.  Our longest line of the day was for the Toy Story ride.  The important thing is that I won.
Robyn made sure to tell me that she's still a better person than me, even though I won the Toy Story ride.  Also, she was quick to point out that she dominated me in Buzz Lightyear the day before.

 We had to buy Robyn a tiara, so she went from Captain America to Princess America.

By 4:00, we had ridden everything we wanted to ride except for the Cars ride.  The line for that ride was 4 hours long.  Fast passes had long run out.  (The line for fast passes was at least an hour until they ran out.)  Since we're old and tired, we briefly pondered, should we stay another 4 hours for 90 seconds of entertainment?  The answer was no.  I was really excited to get off my feet, so we went back to the hotel and relaxed.

Some may say that we didn't get our money's worth because we could have stayed in the parks for another 8 hours.  But I had a great time in the park, and I had a great time relaxing afterward, so I'm happy with it.

The next day we were off to Hollywood, so stay tuned.

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