Wednesday, July 23, 2008


IMG_7470_edited-1.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.

I really like this one of him, it's really nothing special, but I think it captures his thoughtfulness.

Monday, July 21, 2008


IMG_6715.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.


IMG_6704.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.

Caitlynn building in the sand.


IMG_6702_edited-1.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.

Elijah looking for Sponge Bob hehe.


IMG_6698.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.

Hannah at Dadi Beach


IMG_7258.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.


IMG_7259.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.

When Elijah chose this Stitch hat I wasn't even thinking of how cute it would be with his Stitch jacket.


IMG_7262.jpg, originally uploaded by NicoleBryant.

This is the girls on the monorail. You can't see it in the photo but the windows were shaped like Mickey Heads.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tokyo Disney rocks again!

After our trip in 2006 I really wasn't sure we could top it, but we definitely did. Wow, what a difference a couple of years can make in the kids stamina! The last time we went the kids were 6 and 8, and we really needed to leave the arks in the middle of the day to decompress in the hotel before going back. Not this time, our last day we left the room at 9am and didn't get back until 9pm.
Tokyo Disney consists of two parks, Disneyland and Disney Sea. Disney Sea has the better rides if you ask me. The nice thing about Tokyo Disney is because of the generally smaller stature of Asians the height limits are much lower than in the US. My favorite ride by far was Journey to the Center of the Earth, which the kids were too short for the last time we went. This time Elijah just made the cut off, but he couldn't slouch at all or he wasn't tall enough. The second day we were there Elijah had a melt down and wanted to go home to Guam. Turns out, when we told him the day before that we were going to ride Journey, it gave him nightmares that night. None of us had ever been on the ride and had no idea what to expect, all we knew was that the outside of the ride looked like a volcano. So we told Elijah we didn't have to ride it, and he was fine from then on, except when he got scared of Tower of Terror, but I'll write about that later. The second day we went to Disney Sea there was almost no one there and Journey had a 5min wait, so we told Elijah we were going to ride it once and he never had to ride it again if he didn't want to. So we get on the ride, and of course he'll only ride it if he can sit with me, and things are going ok, so far the ride is slow and actually kind of lame, then there starts to be these really off creatures, still no problem. The next thing we see is this huge monster, definitely worthy of a few nightmares if your and anxious kid, but still no freak out yet, then everything goes dark and the ride takes off up out of the volcano and back down in. We get to the end and I'm waiting for Elijah to tell us off for making him ride it, but he surprised me saying he liked it. He told us he put his fear in his pocket so he could get over it, and then we all made a show of him throwing his fear down and all of us stomping on it. So great, we think we can ride it again no problem right, not quite. Elijah forgot to inform us that while he liked the ride he only liked to ride it once a day. The funniest thing, he was enamored with the volcano itself and was constantly stopping to watch it, especially when the flames came out. Ok we counted this as a victory and moved on. Then there was the Tower of Terror, which all the kids got on the first time no problem, when we were done they all said they liked it, so we were surprised when Elijah freaked about going on it again. Unlike the one in Orlando, this one centers around a Shariki Statue that causes Mr. Hightower's elevator to crash at the bottom. The ride itself didn't bother him, but the Tiki really didn't settle well, and again he had nightmares about it. So after riding it twice during the trip we decided it wasn't worth the emotional scarring to ride it again, you know, gotta cap those psychiatrist bills early on. Of course there were also rides that didn't cause any anxiety attacks, the kids an I liked 20,000 Leagues under the sea, which was basically a simulation submarine. Of course Dave didn't like it near as much as we did, something about trying to leave work at work. One loved by all was the Indiana Jones ride, which had the same height requirement as Journey, but Elijah was much more inclined to stand tall for this one. For this one you rode in a Jeep and Elijah and I both lucked out and got to take turns at the steering wheel pretending to drive. Of course everything was in Japanese, but you still got the gist of things. The last time we rode as we came out we passed right by Indiana Jones, thank goodness for Dave, because I totally didn't see him there and would've just kept going. It's much harder to convince the kids that the park characters are the movie ones with real life characters. Of course the kids being 8 and 10 might have something to do with that also. The nice thing this time was that all the kids were over 7, so Caitlynn didn't always have to be the one to ride alone. It also meant the three of tem could ride the rides without us. Of course they were way too young for us to just let them go, but there were a lot of rides with short or no waits that we let them go on alone. Even when riding without us Elijah had to ride with someone, namely Caitlynn, he refused to go. On the very last day, right before we left the park he rode the Flounder coaster all by himself. Hannah was nice enough to provide him with a great thing to tell us when they got off, he comes running off and tells us "I rode the roller coaster all by myself, top that!" The kids rode all of the rides in Triton's Kingdom alone and also Aquatopia. It was actually quite funny, we all rode Aquatopia and there was absolutely no line, then the kids rode themselves 4 more time while we waited for Storm Rider to open. Elijah just told me his favorite ride at that park was Journey. Hannah's was Indiana Jones, and Caitlynn's was Tower of Terror. Dave's favorite was the Gondolas, which we were really lucky when we rode that one, because we got the last ride which was at sunset. I'm having a hard time coming up with a favorite, I really liked the Train, because I like reading all the signs along the way, which were all centered around NYC. There was a fountain in the park which my NY friends can appreciate, the plaque on the fountain said Naturally Pure Hudson River Water. Where was that sign when we were kids told not to swim or fish in the Hudson? I never understood it, but while Disneyland stayed extremely busy all day everyday, Disney Sea pretty much cleared out at around 4pm. If you waited until then you could pretty much ride anything you wanted with no wait, which is why on our last day we were able to ride Journey 3 times in a row in about 1/2 hour. We never got to see the fireworks at Disney Sea because they were cancelled due to wind conditions , but we were able to watch the BraviSEAmo! in a shortened state which was very cool. It was a show on the water depicting a love story between a fire breathing dragon and a ship/fountain.
Disneyland was the larger of the two parks, and ALWAYS the most crowded. Supposedly, it's modeled after Disney Land California, but since I've never been there, I have no idea. One of the good things about moving to San Diego will be finally getting to go there. Anyway, it had a lot of the old favorites: Small World, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Snow White, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Tea Cups just to name a few. Most of the rides are the same as in the states, again with lowered height requirements. The only ones I can think of that were new to us were the Roger Rabbit, and Gadget Go Coaster rides in Toontown. The kids were bummed that Space Mountain was closed for renovations, because they all really loved it last time we were there. There were two new attractions in the works one a stitch show and a Monsters Inc. show or ride, I'm not really sure. We didn't spend as much time at Disneyland, it just didn't make sense to fight the crowds there when we could go to the other park and not have to deal with crowds. One of the rides we rode was the Star Jets, you know the ones that are kind of like Dumbo but way high in the air. Everyone loved that one except Caitlynn, her and I rode together and she refused to bring the jet up as high as it could go. Caitlynn and Hannah's favorite at Disneyland was Thunder Mountain. Elijah's was Buzz Lightyear, even though Daddy always outscores all of us. Dave was also a Thunder Mountain man. My favorite was Snow White, because it brought back lots of memories. I went to Disney World for the first time the summer I turned 5, and my Great grandmother rode Snow White with me, she probably doesn't have such nice memories of it since it scared the crap out of her. I also like Thunder Mountain because I remember when I rode it with my Grandpa, not sure how old I was, somewhere between 10 and 12 I think, he told me he'd never ride another ride with me, he didn't care for the coaster. I seem to have that effect one people, the first roller coaster I ever rode was at Bush Gardens, my Aunt Meg rode it with me, we didn't know it had a 360, I was in all my glory and couldn't wait to ride again, unfortunately Aunt Meg was green and leery of riding anything else with me ever. We were able to watch the fireworks at Disneyland, we almost didn't stay to watch them because we were all tired and figured we'd stay another night, we changed our mind which was good or we wouldn't have seen any because of wind cancellations. I almost forgot to mention that this year is the 25th Anniversary of Tokyo Disney, so there were all kinds of special things going on. I got these adorable Minnie and Mickey dressed in Yukatas, a casual summer kimono, holding fans that say 25th Anniversary. Because the Tanabata Star Festival started while we were there, the kids got to hand wishes with all the Japanese. (In present-day Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku (短冊 tanzaku?), small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations.) As we entered the park the kids were given mickey shaped pieces of paper to write their wishes on and then hand them with the bamboo. The colors of the papers changed each day, the first day, the day we wrote wishes was pink, then there was blue and green, by our last day there was just tons of Mickey shaped wishes hanging.

Our first two days we stayed at the Miracosta Hotel in Disney Sea. It was really neat because to enter the park you went down to the bottom floor and entered through a special door just for hotel guests. Our room had a view of the Gondolas and Tower of Terror. The last two days we stayed at the Sheraton Grande in a corner room. On one side we had a view of the ocean, which was very gray while we were there, nothing like the beautiful blue water here in Guam. On the other side we could see both parks, it would've been a really cool view to see the fireworks over both parks simultaneously, but it never happened. The weather was kind of crazy while we were there, you really never knew what to expect. In the morning and evenings it was cold and we all wore jackets, but the day could go either way. If the clouds cleared it could be really hot, if not it never really warmed up.

We really had a great four days, but it's kind of sad. This was our last trip while here in Guam. We really can't complaint though, in 3 years we've gone to Tokyo twice, Hong Kong, Australia and to Saipan twice. We've really made the most of our time here as far as travel.

Vacation Bible School

What a success! Our church had VBS June 23-27th and it went very well. There were 30 students who prayed the saviors prayer. Considering our average attendance was between 60 and 70 kids, that's an insane number. Most important to me of course is that Hannah was one of the 30. I know, it's hard to gauge a child's salvation at this age, but at least they're all heading in the right direction. Our theme this year was an amusement park, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it. I helped out in the music area this year and really enjoyed seeing all the different grades during the day. I have to admit, some of the songs were kinda hokey, but the kids didn't complain. The week ended with a Friday evening performance of the songs the kids learned, they all did a fantastic job. It was funny watching the 5th and 6th graders during the week, they were constantly going back and forth between having fun and trying to be too old and too cool for singing the songs.