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!
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.
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.
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.
Just got back from our Southern California Vacation and are happy to be home since the last two days were spent with the kids very very sick. We started out by picking up Miles and Jordan from LAX and headed to the La Brea Tar pits and to Farmers Market for breakfast. Then we met Wade, Jeanine, Mike and Luke to see Toy Story 3 at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. After the movie, we went to a Toy Story Fun Fair behind the theater and we rode rides, played on a playground, saw a show, did some crafts, and ate some ice cream.
The next day we went to a little kids amusement park in Stanton called Adventure City, a tiny little place that somehow crammed tons of rides into a quarter of a city block. That night we went to Pirate Dinner Adventure Theater with Jeanine and Luke and John and Deanna. Okay food and okay show but the kids had fun and it was great to spend some rare time with John and Deanna. We wanted to spend more with them but….
Almost all of the rest of the time was spend at Disneyland riding rides and eating and spending money. Tuesday night we went to Dodger Stadium to watch them hit three home runs and beat the Marlins. We sat in the bleachers which was interesting as they don’t let you leave the bleacher area to visit the rest of the stadium, but the fans there are a bit more rowdy than the other sections which made it a lot of fun. Go Dodgers!!!
On Wednesday there was an earthquake so for much of the day the rides were shut down. Also, we didn’t get to see the much lauded World of Color show at California Adventure because something broke during the earthquake safety checks, and that was after we waited half an hour in the morning for tickets and waited more than an hour in the middle of a restless mob that wanted to see the show. It would have been understandable except they didn’t tell us there wouldn’t be a show until well after we should have been let into the viewing area.
We went to Long Beach after Disneyland and so wanted to go to Johns birthday party at Jeanine’s house, but at about one a.m. the night before, the kids started throwing up with headaches and stomach aches. It was extra sad when Elizabeth cried because we couldn’t go to the party. They were throwing up off and on for both of our Long Beach hotel days, so much so that Daniel made us quit using any throw up, puke, vomit, and hurl-ish type words and to just say “flower” instead. Elizabeth was achey and whiny all the way home and only just started feeling better when she saw her own room.
They both got their appetites back when they got home, so I think everything’s okay now. If we erase the last two days, it was a great vacation, even with the earthquake stuff. But we sure regret not spending more time with family or visiting Grandma.Pictures of the trip are here.
During Spring Break we went down to visit our newest family member Luke. We decorated eggs, celebrated with a wonderful Easter brunch. We made Dan’s pilgrimage to his Holy Land aka Legoland. Some time at the beach, visiting Grandma, and a night watching the A’s clobber the Angels, and then it was back home again. See pics here. (Sorry for the poor picture quality, I changed some setting on the camera that I don’t understand and I’ll have to fix it.)
This is a great time of year for our kids. Shortly after a crazy Christmas full of toys and fun, birthdays quickly follow. And this year the kids were really lucky because right in between Elizabeth and Daniel’s birthdays, a box full of presents arrived from Uncle John and Auntie Deanna. We could barely get Elizabeth’s Tickle Me Elmo out of the box before she started giggling. The box has a button that she could push to let her hear the laughing sound. When she got it open it was even more funny since Elmo falls down as he’s laughing. I was really impressed with the technology that lets him stand back up again on his own. Daniel got a basketball game in miniature form. We were playing it right away . Thanks again Uncle John and Auntie Deanna!!