This year John and Deanna, and the Haller family drove up to our house for Thanksgiving. Michael had come up earlier in the month to visit for a couple of days but had to work this weekend so couldn’t join us. Jeanine, Wade, Luke, and Olivia came up on Monday which gave us a chance to head for the San Francisco Zoo on Tuesday. Elizabeth and I had wanted to go since we watched a Netflix show that featured the animals there. They stayed the whole week and John and Deanna came up on Wednesday. On Thursday Sandy cooked an enormously delicious meal while we all took a car ride to the top of nearby Mount Diablo to give her some space. The ride down was fun since we did it in John’s rental car with the gas gauge on E the whole time. The dinner was fantastic and Jeanine added lots of sides to the turkey and ham we had. The next day everyone left and it was just the four of us again. Sad that they’re gone, but we know we’ll visit them down there again soon.
I was so happy that all of us could go to a Dodger game this year, especially with my favorite team doing so well. After the museum we headed to the stadium and met Jeanine, John, Deanna and Tura. It was a great game with good food and a fun time and the Dodgers won. It was great getting to see them during their World Series winning season!
We finally got a chance to go where Elizabeth chose for Girls Day back in March. Wade, Mike, Luke, and Olivia took us to the LA Natural History Museum to see dinosaurs. (Jeanine had to work that day.) In addition to the dinosaurs we saw lots of other stuffed animals, some living ones and lots of butterflies in a garden outside the museum. Afterwards we headed across town to see the Dodger game.
Dan wanted to go to Legoland for Boys Day back in May, but when he found out that we could go to Universal Studios instead, he readily agreed. And it was just a coincidence that we ended up going on Sandy’s birthday. There was lots for the adults and Dan and Liz to do, but I felt bad because there wasn’t so much for Luke and Olivia. Although Luke was just tall enough to ride the Transformers ride. Everyone got to enjoy the backstage tram tour and it was my favorite part. Dan and Elizabeth loved the Jurassic park ride. It ended up being a bit too expensive and a bit too crowded, but we all still had a great time and it was a must see. After the park we went to dinner at a western place at the park’s entrance and while the food was just okay, it was fun watching Wade riding the bucking bronco machine. Later when we got back to the hotel, Sandy opened up some cards and presents. She got three cases. A makeup case, an iPad case, and an iPhone case. By then it was too late and we were too tired to do anything else. We still owe Sandy a birthday cake.
Our first morning in Long Beach woke up to ants in our hotel room followed by a very confusing “free breakfast” that ended up not being free at all. But the day got better when we went with the Hallers to see Pixar’s Planes at Disney’s El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. The movie was okay, actually kind of less than okay as it seemed the Pixar people just phoned this one in. But the theater tried to make up for it with a little bird show and a tiny little one room aviation museum in the basement. And the day got much much better when we all went to John and Deanna’s house for a back yard barbecue. There was lots of food, and lots of room for the kids and dogs to play in. It was a fun time and a nice change from all the eating out and running around we usually do when we visit.
The Hallers came up to visit on St. Patrick’s day weekend and brought their awesomely shiny bubbly new Airstream trailer with them. On St. Patrick’s Day Eve, while I was at work, Sandy and Elizabeth went to see the annual Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade. Daniel had to stay home to put the final touches on his big fifth grade research paper on movies. That afternoon Wade, Jeanine, Luke and Olivia drove up in a gigantic van towing an even gigantic-er trailer. They spent most of the weekend with us and all of the kids had a great time playing with each other. On Sunday, we all hiked to the Dublin Library and spent a few hours eating and playing at the St. Patrick’s Day fair. There were rides for the kids but the lines were crazy long so we couldn’t ride anything. We were sad to see them go on Monday, and can’t wait to see them again.
Daniel had the option of taking a trip or having a party for his eleventh birthday and chose a trip a museum in San Francisco. It wasn’t until two hours into the trip and some prodding from Elizabeth, that he realized we were going to Disneyland instead. The kids got a rare non-holiday four day weekend so we decided to check out new stuff like Cars Land, the Little Mermaid ride, and the revamped Star Tours at a time when we thought the place wouldn’t be so busy. Cars land was awesome and still new enough to be kind of busy with wait times for the Radiator Springs Racers ride being almost an hour. The rest of the park had very short lines. The Haller family spent every day with us there, and John and Deanna joined us for dinner and some Lego shopping one night. For his actual birthday dinner Dan chose Rainforest Cafe. He had to wait to get back the hotel room to open presents. He got a puzzle ball from his sister and a video game and promise of a new bike from mom and dad. Elizabeth rode every roller coaster she could and even outlasted me on California Screaming. We still cant decide if she really liked it or just was being braver than her brother.
We drove down south to spend Thanksgiving with our Long Beach family and had lots of fun. It was great seeing everyone, but we were sad that Deanna and John couldn’t make it to dinner. We actually had two dinners. One at Wade’s fire station near the Queen Mary, and another one the next day at the Haller’s house. Daniel and Elizabeth really enjoyed playing with Luke and Olivia and we all enjoyed going to P.F. Changs where Mike is working.
Jeanine, Wade, Luke and Olivia came up for a weekend visit and we had a great time. We went to the Oakland Zoo and the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 in San Francisco. Olivia and Luke are kinda crazy and I don’t know how Wade and Jeanine keep up with them. But they’re tons of fun. After a great Fisherman’s Wharf seafood dinner we went to get on BART back to the city but some idiot ran onto the tracks and the train was closed. The Davoust’s panicked and took a $150 cab ride back home but the Hallers were patient and waited for BART to reopen and were back into Dublin just a half hour after us. Lots of pictures:
The dinosaur exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History was pretty impressive. Lots of bones including a complete t-rex named Tommy. We couldn’t help but compare it to the Dinosaur Resource Center we visited a couple of years ago in Colorado. LA’s is much more elaborate and well laid out for display than the one in Colorado, but the one in Colorado really emphasized research, science and preservation of the fossil specimens over making them look pretty for visitors. The kids had lots of fun and were truly impressed, except for Olivia who seemed to prefer the pretty rocks in the geology section over the dinos.
After the museum we went back to our hotel where John, Deanna, Wade, Jeanine, Olivia and Luke joined us for ribs and chicken. There was far too much food and I’m still feeling full writing this a few hours after my last bite. It was wonderful to see so much of the family together again and we need to do things like that more often.
We tried deep fried everything almost at the Orange County Fair. Jeanine, Wade, Luke, Olivia, Tura, and joesandanliz all took the van to the fair where in addition to trying deep fried artichokes, butter, kool aid, corn dogs, cream cheese, bacon fries and potato skins, we also had popcorn, crepes, shrimp cocktail, a pickle and probably even more stuff that I forgot. We also looked at farm animals, took some turns trying to win prizes (Elizabeth got 5 stuffed animals, Daniel got 2), watched a motorhome demolition derby, rode ponies, looked at millions of exhibits and went down a big slide. The kids were so tired by the time we got home, but no where near as tired as the adults were. Lots of pictures are here.
We walked into Dodger Stadium on throwback day and everything was Brooklyn’ed out with hardly a mention of the team being the “Los Angeles” Dodgers. Maybe they should be renamed the Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles, since the LA team is clearly playing in Anaheim. We went to Olivia and family’s house so we could ride in her van to her first Dodger game. Wade and Jeanine got us great seats and we got to spend the day with Tura and the Haller family watching the Dodgers take an amazing early six-run lead, just to watch them blow it and lose 9-8 in the end. It was the first Dodger DAY game I can remember going to and it was very hot and sunny. Kind of sad play by the Dodgers, especially Andre Ethier, who seemed lost in his own thoughts in the outfield, and went through the motions and struck out wildly swinging two at bats in a row. Disappointing result but still a great time.
The day started out with Luke and Dan going swimming at the hotel, then a trip to the Santa Barbara marina for a great lunch at Sushi Go Go, and winding up with an afternoon of shopping on State Street.
Just a picture gallery of one of our Santa Barbara vacation days when Wade, Jeanine, Luke and Olivia came to visit us.