We flew out on Wednesday, September 2nd. All went well, with only one minor hiccup. I took one of Jason’s old backpacks and didn’t realize there was a CO2 cartridge hidden in the folds of the pockets. It was a cartridge used for airsoft guns. That caused a slight delay in the security check, but besides that we were on our way to the Long Beach Airport. Alli and Amy picked us up from the airport, as Amy had already arrived. We headed back to Alli’s new house in Mission Viejo. I was so excited to see her new house! I had heard it was magnificent and very spacious. It definitely lived up to its reputation, plus more, as we took a tour of the house. (Alli has since left Rick and moved out, but that is a story for another day.) We got to see Duke, Capri, Mason, and Rick, which was really fun. Then we enjoyed banana bread and nachos as we went over the weekend’s itinerary. We learned all of the fun things ahead and we couldn’t wait! Alli always does such an awesome job planning fun events. She also included a Girls Week Theme: Service. Each night she surprised us with a recording from one of our husbands talking about how we give service in our family. It was really cute and special.
The cute set up for Amy, April, and I - complete with eye masks and slippers
I couldn’t wait for the next morning to arrive. According to our itinerary, we were headed to Disneyland! Before the trip, I didn’t even allow myself to hope that would be a possibility, but off to Disneyland we went. The Grubers have several friends who work for Disney, so the plan was to have one friend meet us there so that we could get three people in free and split up the rest of the tickets. It was going to be $36 per person, which is a steal! However, Ashna brought a coworker with her and so we all got in free! We couldn’t believe it! Talk about making an amazing day just that much better. We had awesome weather and fast lines. It was not that crowded, which is awesome. They had a great new light parade that none of us had seen before and it was fantastic! The only slight downer of the day, if you can even call it that, was the new firework show that night was canceled due to wind. I just loved our day at Disneyland and being able to roam the park with freedom with my “sisters”. It was so fun! Another nice thing about getting in for free is you don’t feel like you have to run around and over do it. You are content to go on rides at your own pace, or just sit and people watch if you want to. So nice!
On Friday we got to sleep in and relax. Even after taking it easy at Disneyland, we were still exhausted. Friday was our pampering day. We enjoyed our traditional pedicures. Loved it! Next stop was San Clemente for a beach day, with a quick stop at Surfin' Donuts. Again, we scored with great weather. We also ended up with front row seats to a beach wedding. As we sat there in our beach chairs contemplating whether or not we should leave, two girls started setting things up on the beach. At first we guessed it was for a photo shoot, but as more was added, we realized with excitement that it was for a wedding. It was very sweet and intimate (other than the random bystanders sitting close by on the beach). On the way home from San Clemente we picked up some amazing shaved ice. It is a stand with very unique flavors and fresh toppings. We loved it! Once we were back at the house, we got into the hot tub and enjoyed an Oriental chicken salad.
Saturday was another amazing day. Alli got up insanely early that morning to secure a spot for us for the concert in the park that night. She allowed the rest of us to sleep in for a bit. At 9:00 am we were off to the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Thanks to Alli’s passes, it was another free activity. The Mission is just gorgeous, and it is such a unique and interesting walk through (not to mention a fabulous photo opp). We had lunch at a traditional Gruber/Banks restaurant that was nearby called the Depot. We also enjoyed some antique shopping while there. After that we stopped by the house for some quick pool time and to grab our stuff for the evening’s activities. We were headed to the Mission Viejo private lake for a concert with KC & The Sunshine Band. It was such blast! We arrived at the great spot Alli had claimed for us that morning and sat on the blankets she had laid out. We enjoyed a picnic dinner and games while we people watched and waited for the concert to begin. The concert was such a hoot and just good, old fun. The group sings classics like “That The Way I Like It”, “Shake Your Booty”, and “Get Down Tonight”. These guys have been performing for like 40 years, mind you the lead singer is 64 years old! I’m pretty sure their dance moves and costumes have not progressed with time, but that made it all the more enjoyable. They were just hilarious. We had an awesome dance party with the rest of the community. It was a fun night to remember.
That night, despite the night’s exertions at the concert, we still managed to stay up late having an unscheduled, intense spiritual discussion. It was very strengthening and heartfelt.
On Sunday, we headed to 10:00 am church with Rick and Mason. After church, Grandpa Banks and Alan arrived because that afternoon and evening was to be spent at Great Aunt Jeanette’s funeral service (Grandpa Banks’ sister). She had passed away in August, and so we were lucky to have been in town when the service took place. I remember meeting her once at Patsy’s funeral. Such a nice, sweet lady. She had an intimate funeral service and then her ashes were laid to rest at Pacific View Memorial Park. After that, a dinner was held by the family at Mimi’s Cafe. I remember being so impressed with Mason through all of this as he quietly and calmly sat through it all with no complaining, whining, or need for entertainment. It was amazing! He is only 3! Capri and Duke were with their dad. That night, after we got home and comfortable in our pajamas, we chatted and Alli gave us some more thoughtful gifts. We couldn’t believe another Girls Days had come and gone so quickly. We loved every minute of it! We flew out the next morning with fond memories of the weekend! I sure do love those girls!
And adding to the service theme of the week, we helped Alli staple books together for Capri's school:
After flying into Utah, we made an unexpected lunch stop at Trellis Cafe, meeting up with those who had been at home during our trip. It was great to see my boys again; I had missed them! Jason had handled Charlie and Colson wonderfully. It was the longest Jason had ever been with both of the boys alone. They had a ball together and Jason said it wasn’t even that bad. It appears that they were much better behaved than they usually are for me. I am glad for that. He did say that Colson was much more difficult to handle than Charlie as he is crawling everywhere, getting into everything, and still wanting to be held. Nicely done, boys; until next time!
Pictures from the boys at home: