Saturday, May 23, 2009


Today was Wasatch Academy's graduation and my amazing little sister graduated from High School and is now moving on to bigger and better things (aka BYU!!!). We had Baccalaureate in the morning, where they had an inspirational speaker and a number of the Seniors perform musical numbers. Following a delicious lunch we had graduation and Becca swept the board of most of the academic, athletic, and service awards that were given and gave a spectacular speech about her experiences at Wasatch Academy. It was so great to have Mum Laurel, Grandma Loni, and our cousin Lindsey there to help us celebrate Becca's accomplishments. Congrats Becca!

I was so busy taking a million pictures of graduation with Becca's camera that I kinda forgot until the end to take any with my camera so I had pretty slim pickings on the pictures for the post.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Beaches and Swings.

Friday morning we bid farewell to Anaheim and headed north to spend the day with Ghazi and Tante Esthere on the beach. It was wonderful to see them both again and while there we were royally spoiled with good food (including Ghazi's famous hummus), good company, and a great view of the beach. We couldn't get enough of the beach this trip and spent most of Friday afternoon and Saturday morning playing on the beach, catching crabs, and trying unsuccessfully to get tan before we left California. But the most amazing thing about the beach was the swing set we found. I absolutely love swings and to have a swing set on the beach where I could look out at the waves while I swung was heaven. After a delicious breakfast at IHOP we said goodbye to Ghazi, Tante Esthere, and California....and headed back home. Thank you Tante Esthere and Ghazi for your kindness and generosity. We loved spending time with you!

David did a pretty good job burying himself.

Dad enjoying the soft sand and warm sunshine


David digging for crabs.

Julia the seaweed queen. She spent hours rescuing the adrift seaweed from the waves.

Walking along the Beach - David. Benjamin. Julia. Dad

I don't know what it was about this trip but I loved taking pictures of my beautiful family (yes I am a little biased) holding hands and looking over their shoulders.

I love these last two pictures of Julia and me....


Thursday morning Melinda and I rode the train from Anaheim to Encinitas and then spent the day being very lazy and seeing some of the sights in Encinitas with her family. The first (and most amazing) stop was at the flower market. I have never seen anything quite like the huge warehouse full of every flower you can imagine but I was in heaven...especially with the rows of Gerber daisies in every color. After the flower market we ran some errands, soaked up some sun by the side of the pool, made caramel brownies, and watched Pirates of the Caribbean after Melinda was horrified that I had never seen it before. Overall it was a lovely day spent with Melinda and her amazing family. Thank you Melinda for sharing your beautiful family with me and thanks to the Wilkins for the wonderful day!

Melinda and Della in the freezers at the flower market. Look at all those gerber daisies!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Wednesday was spent at the Happiest Place On Earth where we did 35 attractions (rides, shows, etc) throughout the day. Once again the weather was beautiful and there were hardly any lines. When asked what his favorite rides were David answered "Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn, and Space Mountain"...the three biggest roller coasters in the park. What a fearless kid! Due to Melinda's expert knowledge of all the "special" things there are to do at Disneyland if you are just willing to ask, Julia, Benjamin, and David got to be up in the ship cabin on the Mark Twain Riverboat. As we sailed around the island they got to pull the whistle, ring the bell, help the captain steer the riverboat, and were made honorary captains of the Mark Twain. Later in the day we also went to see the Jedi Training Academy and Julia, Benjamin, David, and about 20 other kids from the audience were chosen by the force to be trained as Jedi's. Upon the completion of their training, the stage rose up and the stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul appeared. Then after their unsuccessful attempts to convince the newly trained Jedi's to join the dark side, each Jedi fought Darth Vader with their light sabers. So fun to watch and to cheer on the Jedi's and a great way to end another day.

My beautiful family and Melinda walking down Main Street in Disneyland.

In front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. We got to walk through it which was a first because it had been closed for years. The coolest part was the picture of Sleeping Beauty's dress at the very end that changed! pink! blue!

Benjamin, Melinda, Julia, and David sailing the Mark Twain around the island.

I love this picture because it perfectly shows what my sister is like. Ready to face anything, stand up for what she believes, and never willing to back down even when her opponent is feet taller than her and a lot scarier.

Activate! Left shoulder, right shoulder, left leg, duck!, left leg, right leg, to the head, deactivate. See what an amazing Jedi I would have made! It's ok because Benjamin had the combination down and did it perfectly.

Darth Vader definitely didn't intimidate this Jedi. David fought amazing and even used his height to his advantage...he didn't have to duck. :)

The three Cottam Jedi's after receiving their diplomas as honorary graduates from the Jedi Training Academy.

Mum Laurel, Benjamin, David, Katherine, Melinda, Julia, Mom, and Dad riding on the trolley in Toon Town

California Adventure.

Tuesday morning we got up early, packed our lunch, and then spent the day in California Adventure. The weather was absolutely perfect, there were no lines, and our excellent tour guide Melinda knew the ins and outs of everywhere we went. The only bad thing about the entire day was I realized how old I must be getting because I actually felt sick after going on multiple "wild" rides in a row, something that doesn't happen very often. I experienced a mini mid-life crisis and was forced to go and ride the Bumper Cars and Caterpillar Train in "a bugs land" to assure myself that I am still a kid at heart. We also went to the sourdough and tortilla factories (yea free samples!) and rode Soarin' Over California and the new Toy Story ride five or six times each - definitely our favorite rides of the day.

Riding on the Caterpillar Train

Mum Laurel, Julia, and Dad on the Mickey Ferris Wheel overlooking Paradise Pier

I am not quite sure what happened here...I think David fell asleep at the wheel and hit a "Daddy long-legs" that was crossing the street. Julia was horrified, I am not sure why Benjamin was smirking, and the three lovely ladies in the back were all ready for the picture to be taken.

Meeting Goofy...lets just say that Dad was in awe, inspired, speechless, and felt like he had died and gone to heaven. Don't you just love that smile?


This past week the Cottam clan (minus Becca and Daniel who both still had school) and Grandma Laurel took a trip to California. We left on Sunday afternoon and stayed overnight in Las Vegas where our three bedroom condo was upgraded to a Suite because the resort had overbooked the rooms we had reserved. Needless to say we were all a little excited because these country bumpkins have never stayed in a Suite. The next day we drove the rest of the way to California, stopping for lunch at In-N-Out Burger (a first!), explored Downtown Disney while Mom and Grandma did the grocery shopping for the week, and spent the afternoon at the beach with my roommate Melinda and her family. It was so much fun... especially roasting hot dogs and smores in the bonfire on the beach.

I just love this picture...four of the most important people in my life holding hands, walking down a beautiful lane of palm trees (I love how green everything is in California!), and looking like they are confident and ready to face whatever comes their way.

The Pirate we befriended in Downtown Disney

Upon our arrival at the beach David excitedly exclaimed "Dad look it's real sand!" For the next few hours he built sandcastle after sandcastle and then watched as the waves washed each of them away. He was so engrossed in his work that when I broke his concentration to take a picture he wasn't very happy...hence the annoyed look.
For the next few hours he built sandcastle after sandcastle and then watched as the waves washed each of them away. He was so engrossed in his work that when I broke his concentration to take a picture he wasn't very happy...hence the annoyed look. :)