Monday, July 19, 2010

Our Summer Vacation!!

Wow, what a whirl wind of a summer!!!! I look forward to summer all throughout the year and when it is finally here it seems to go by SO fast!!! Our family has been having a great summer up to this point. Once school was out, the kids were able to hang out with friends for a couple weeks before we started our GRAND ADVENTURE!!! We were traveling west for my baby brothers wedding, so we figured we should make a grand vacation out of it!! You would think a 6 week long vacation would feel like forever.....BUT no - it went by way too fast. When the time came to head home, we found ourselves saying..."where can we go next!."

The kids and I left the last week of June and made the 13 hour drive to Farmington, New Mexico. Yup...drove it all myself!! Wahoo...I was a little worried, but we made it safely!! This was the first stop on our 6 week vacation! We had to stop and drop Max off at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They so graciously agreed to let Max live with them while we were off on our travels. We stayed in Farmington a couple days before heading to Flagstaff, Az to meet up with my mom and dad. We stayed there the night and continued on 11 hours the next day until arriving at Donny's house in Monterey, Ca. I wasn't to sure about Monterey driving in. We must have come in the back way because once we got out and drove around, I fell in love with that place. We arrived there Saturday July 3rd. We went to dinner and the kids and I thought we were going to freeze to death. We were in our jeans and jackets!!! It felt like it does in Texas during winter!!! Sunday we went to church with Donny. His last Sunday in his "singles" ward. That was fun and definately an experience! I think there were about 20-25 people there (I'm sure partly due to the fact it was summer and a holiday weekend). Nevertheless - you could have heard a pin drop. I haven't been in a sacrament meeting like that in a long time! It was great...there was a great spirit there and I'm so glad the kids and I could be there with my mom, dad, Donny, and Sarah. After church we took a drive to the beachside in Carmel. WOW!! Okay, I want to live there!!!!The kids loved the beach! It is so beautiful and the houses are awesome!!! We had fun just driving around looking at all the homes. They are all designed differently and are so amazing. The kids loved it!!! They have a cute little town square or main street and the beach of course was amazing. Cold, but amazing. The kids fell in love with I did. This was a fun place to take pictures of the kids. We also gave some love to the Pebble Beach Golf course for Rick!! It was probably a good thing he wasn't with us. He would have LOVED awesome golf course right on the ocean!! WOW!!! We had a great afternoon with Donny and Sarah on the beach!Unfortunately the City of Monterey and most surrounding cities had firework bans, so there were't any fireworks to be seen. We were a little sad, but I grabbed the kids and Sunday evening we went down to Cannery Row in Monterey, just to walk around and check things out. We had a great time watching the people, window shopping, and just feeling the cool ocean breeze! We were lucky because Donny had off Monday and Tuesday, so we were able to spend some time with him. Monday morning Jordan and I got up and ran with Donny and Sarah. I felt like I was in a movie! Running on a trail right along the ocean! (BUT...if I was really in a movie I wouldn't have been huffing and puffing as hard as I was :) Despite felt great!!! The ocean breeze! Wow - I could get used to that!!!
Later that day, I took the kids back to Cannery Row. Eventhough the water was absolutely freezing, they didn't care....they didn't get all the way in, but they loved running and playing in the water. I could have taken pictures all day of the kids in the water...they were having so much fun!Grandpa spent the day with us while grandma was doing "wedding stuff."Tuesday we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. What an experience! We saw so many cool things. The kids enjoyed watching the different animals during feeding times. This guy was crazy...he had a giant eel wrapped around him....One of the kids favorites was the seahorses...We had a great day at the many fun things to see!!For dinner that night, we took the kids to Bubba Gump Shrimp. The kids loved tasting the shrimp, but stuck with their favorite....chicken. I'm so glad we got to spend some time with Donny! We got to see his new place he and Sarah are moving into. And we were able to spend more time with Sarah...which made us like her even more than we already did. We were sad to leave Monterey and Carmel, but excited for our next stop.

Wednesday July 7, we headed to San Jose, Ca to visit my Aunt Robin and Uncle Dave. It had been forever since I had been at their house. Probably almost 15 years, so it was really good to visit! My Aunt and Uncle are the best hosts!!! My Aunt arranged so many fun things for us to do. Once we got there Wednesday morning, we unloaded a few things and climbed back into the car and headed to The Winchester House. It was impossible to get a picture of the whole house, so this was just a piece of it :)This was awesome!!! This was a house owned by Sarah Winchester. She was married to the guy that invented the "Winchester rifles". After her husband died she moved into this house and just kept building and building. She thought that if she kept building rooms, those people that died from "Winchester Rifles" wouldn't haunt her. The house was constantly under construction and was still being added onto when she died. The house was so fun to walk through...the kids loved it and just kept saying....we wish we could play hide and seek in here. There were doors that opened to nowhere, staircases that led to nowhere, and all kinds of secret passages. I'm so glad we got to see it!!
From there we headed to Santa Cruz for some fun beach time and boardwalk fun! First we stopped to play in the tide pools. The kids thought they were so fun...they learned how strong the tide can be when Jordan lost a shoe right off her foot...we tease her and tell her it is probably in China by now :) Uncle Dave and Aunt Robin searched with the kids to find some living ocean creatures in the rocks...We played baseball on the beach, dug in the sand, and even found time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Once the kids dried off and changed clothes, they were ready for the boardwalk. Robin and Dave stuck it out with us until after 10:00 that night. Uncle Dave was a good sport and took Cody on some little rides, while the rest of us hit a few of the roller coasters! The rides were fun because they had different ones the kids had never seen before. It was a great day!!!!!

Thursday found us in San Francisco. Let me just say I am SO glad I wasn't driving!!! Aunt Robin drove for us and was a pro! She knew right where to go, what we needed to see, and where we should avoid! I couldn't believe how busy San Francisco was and how close together everything was. I decided this was a fun place to visit, but I'm not sure I could ever live there! Our first stop was the Golden Gate Bridge. It was awesome to be there and see it up close.We parked and walked across part of the bridge. This was so COOL!!! It was great having Grandma and Grandpa with us!!Aunt Robin, you were the best tour guide EVER!!!It was pretty chilly and very windy, but the kids loved it. I'm sure that experience will be something they remember doing their whole lives. After the bridge we headed to Pier 39. The kids loved watching and listening to the seals....there were so many and they were so loud! We didn't have time to head out to alcatraz, so we were sure to get a picture! Another highlight was driving down Lombard Street....(the windiest street) It was crazy driving down it....not only did it zig zag but it was really steep!That night, Rick finally was able to join us. He flew in, so my dad and Uncle picked him up while the kids enjoyed swimming in the pool and spending time with my cousin Chris. We had a great time with Dave, Robin, and Chris. Wish we could have stayed longer!!! Looks like we will have to make another trip to San Jose next year!!:)

Friday July 9th, we were off once again, headed to Sacramento for Donny's wedding. Before any of the wedding festivities got under way, we made a stop at the Jelly Belly Factory. We learned all about how Jelly Belly's were made, how they get their flavoring, what makes a perfect "bean" vs a belly flop, and even got to taste a few. They have some crazy flavors....I drew the line at "canned dog food."Friday night was a family dinner at Sarah's house. It was nice to meet Sarah's mom, dad, and 3 brothers. She also had some other close family visiting. We had our whole family there, cousins, aunts and uncles. It was a great reunion for everyone! Mom did a great job making some center pieces for the tables. They were pictures of Donny and Sarah growing up. The food was great, weather was great, and we even threw in a few games! We were able to get a few pics of our new relatives...Sarah and her brothers.After the dinner we went back to the hotel to spend some time with Donny and family...The boys hanging out at the hotel...Saturday, July 10th was a full day of WEDDING....Donny and Sarah were sealed in the Sacramento Temple. Sarah looked beautiful and Donny of course was very handsome! They are so cute together!!!! I love kind of reminded me of my wedding. It reminds me of promises Rick and I have made to each other. Reminds me of all my blessings and all that I have!!! Here are a few pics from the big day!!! They were so happy and so in love!!Our family with the new addition...Donny with the women in his life...All the cousins together...My cute Cody...Jordan and Paige were such a big help watching the twins...This is my most favorite picture...this is just the sweetest picture of Paige and Taylor...My cousin Chris and the girls...Paige and her dance partner!!It's always hard to get A LOT of people ready for a picture, especially when it is REALLY hot.Jordan and Chris having fun decorating Donny's car.Jordan and Mason having a "bonding moment."Family photo in front of the temple.Sunday July 11 - yup you guessed it, we loaded up and drove to Anaheim, Ca. Disneyland here we come!!!!! All the kids went to Disneyland when they were 6 with Grandma and Grandpa, but Rick hadn't been since he was little, and some of the kids went when California Adventure wasn't even open yet....SO we figured it was time for us to all go together!!!! Monday morning we were up bright and early to be there right when the gates opened. The very first ride we hit was the Buzz Lightyear ride, then off to Space Mountain. We hit the big rides first and got fast passes for the others. We had a great day! I don't think we waited in line longer than about 20 minutes for any ride! We definately lucked out. All Cody wanted was a Mickey Mouse pretzel!Wahoo...we made it!The kids loved the funny hats....even Rick tried some on!The only Disney character Jordan wanted to make sure she saw was Tinkerbell....her favorite!Loved Cruella!My favorite picture!!! Why is Rick always the one messing around??? :)The kids loved getting autographs in their books!Ready to ride the of our favoritesAnother favorite is Autotopia!!! A car Jordan could actually drive!The kids were so lucky and got to drive the big white Mark Twain boat around the island. It was so cool...they got a certificate and everything!Tuesday, we headed over to California Adventure. !Hollywood Tower of Terror was a favorite of Jordan and Paige. Cody went on it one time and let us know he wouldn't be going on that ride again!!! Cody talked Rick and I into riding the Ferris Wheel, pretty cool, but when you get in one of the carts that rocks, we were feeling a little queezy!The most favorite was the Grizzly Run...probably because we all got wet and cooled off. California Screamin and Soarin Over California were other favorites. Again the lines weren't too bad at all....the longest line we stood in was for the Toy Story ride, and the kids said it was totally worth it. It was a great ride. The Bugs Life show is always a favorite! This was Jordan's first time experiencing the show, so it was fun to see her face when she got poked in the back and bugs ran under her bottom.We loved California Adventure, but we all agreed Disneyland is still our favorite. There is just a different feeling when you walk through the gates to Disneyland.....Happiest Place on Earth.....yup - we were all pretty happy to be there!Tuesday night we drove to my sisters house in Yucaipa, Ca. We spent the day with her family at the beach on Wednesday! We went to Corona Del Mar. The water was a little cold, but you definately got used to it once you took the plunge! The kids enjoyed spending time with their cousins and loved boogy boarding!

Thursday we woke up and made the 12 hour drive back to Farmington, NM. It was nice to stay put for a few days! We loved spending time with Ricks parents. The kids loved seeing cousins, and swimming in the pool. We were also able to see the outdoor play, "Oklahoma". There is just something about sitting outside enjoying the outdoors and watching a play.
We hadn't been up to Durango Mountain in a few years, so we took the kids to ride the Alpine Slides. We always had a good time racing each other....Rick and Jordan got a little too competetive and Jordan managed to fall off her sled. She has a nice "burn" mark on her elbow to prove it!
One of our favorite things to do is go to the BAR D! The food is SO good!!! And the music is fabulous!! They sang some new songs, but we have our "old" favorites too!

Okay - trip is not over, but I have to post...this has taken me forever to finish. More pics and the conclusion to come!