Monday, July 19, 2010

family vacation summer 2010

we are back!!!
we started our 2200 mile trek driving up to lake havasu. i have always wanted to see the london bridge. that didn't happen. it is all blocked off unless you pay to park and then pay to go on the teeny tiny walkway to see it (in the scorching heat). rip off!

this sign was the coolest thing about that town....

now that's hot!!!
we then headed over to vegas to stay in the venetian. it was pretty awesome. every room is a suite, so it had plenty of room for our whole family, which is always a plus :) the kids were excited about the drapes which were operated by a switch on the wall... very fancy. they also couldn't believe they got to use glass cups at all the fancy restaurants... i could tell that the other patrons didn't share in their excitement.

we weren't there 5 min. before someone's shoe was floating in the canal. it was quite an ordeal to fish it out... requiring 3 gondoliers. then little S was crying that her shoe was wet and refused to wear it. DID I MENTION THIS WAS ALL WITHIN THE FIRST 5 MIN?
on the flip side, they were happy as clams swimming with daddy all day.
we also celebrated L's 8th birthday!! we went to serendipity and she ordered the biggest banana split was had ever seen.
they happily dug in... i actually restrained myself... only because of baby R's sensitivity to milk.
not bad. i could have finished the whole thing tho...
they really enjoyed the bellagio fountain show.
the next destination was yosemite. we drove thru death valley which is described perfectly by it's name. out of nowhere a coyote ran right in front of our car. D spotted it first. it was pretty exciting.
we didn't quite make it to yosemite, so we stopped in mammoth lake. it was so beautiful that we camped 2 nights! we loved it there, with the exception of the bear warnings. luckily we didn't see any.
we spent the 4th of july there too. we really enjoyed the small town feel of the parade and festivities.
we couldn't believe the warm weather and the gorgeous snow-capped mountains in the background.
baby R taking in the beautiful sites with his daddy.
the kids played at the lake for hours, creating "worlds" out of everything they found.
we finally packed up and drove over to yosemite national park. it was unbelievably beautiful. it was hard to see all the sites in one day tho. and not easy to do with small kids. i really wanted to see the giant sequoias but each grove required a steep 1 mile hike and we didn't have time to drive to mariposa grove in the southern part of the park. oh well, we'll have to go back when the kids are bigger.
there was a large crowd in one area, and we got out to see what all the commotion was. apparently there was a bear, but we didn't actually see it. bummer.

the breathtaking waterfalls...
one of these things is doin' her own thing....
4 out of 5... not bad. this, by the way, is the famous half dome.
after yosemite, we took a very long, very windy (as in curvy) drive over to fairfield california, to stay with a dear friend. we were so happy to be back to civilization... she graciously hosted us all for 3 nights!! i think she wondered if we were ever going to leave...

the kids were so happy there. she had tons of little frogs and snails in her backyard. the girls were all over that. she also had a huge marimba in the guest bedroom on which daddy played lullabies every nite.
we got up one morning, more like 2pm before we were all ready to go, and drove into san francisco. i was so glad i had borrowed educational books from the library for our vacation. of course i borrowed several books about san fran and insisted that they read them. when we started our drive onto the golden gate bridge they started shouting out facts about the town and the bridge. i was feeling so proud. most of them were pretty good... of course later i found out that most of their knowledge was coming from the movie monsters vs. aliens.
we enjoyed clam chowder in a bread bowl and fresh crab. and of course an anchor steam which is brewed right there. the kids got a kick out of guarding their food from the crazy seagulls. we saw some daring birds even landing on cars and not moving!
it was also FREEZING there!
back in fairfield, we took a tour of the jelly belly factory. it was fun but about half way through, we decided we had had enough and busted out of there. we did get some free samples. also learned that they make some pretty disgusting flavors...barf, pencil shavings, baby wipes, skunk, earwax, eraser....yummy.
on a whim, we drove up to napa valley, even tho we had just been there the week before, and had a lovely picnic at a winery. the kids played while we enjoyed olives, bread and salami from dean and deluca. delish!!!
when we finally left our cozy stay in san fran, we started our drive down the famous pacific coast highway 1. we saw so many fun things. giant herds of elk grazing in the grass, dolphins jumping in the water and my favorite... huge elephant seals flopping around on the beach.

gorgeous views from pch 1....
we just had to pull over for this one. i spotted them from the road and said "pull over!!" we had to hop a few fences, but we were able to get about 10-20 ft. from them. i couldn't believe how big these seals were. it was a little freaky.

there were about 100 of them just lounging around.
we continued down to malibu and met a friend for dinner. after a nice walk and meal on the pier, we went back to our ghetto campsite for a fire and s'mores... the only redeeming thing about camping :) in this particular campsite anyway.
paul and his mini-me. ju-ust the two of them....
pathetic but true. little S still uses one of these lovely things. it was "forgotten" at home before we left. she really missed it, but we thought this might be a good time to try to make a break. well, it backfired. she started sucking her thumb... in a really weird, contorted way. and, with already 2 thumbsuckers in the family who have no intention of quitting anytime soon, i was not about to add a third! so on a graham cracker, marshmallow and hershey refill, i went down the baby aisle and picked the most enormous pacifier they make. it was disturbing. if you only could have seen her face. pure joy and thankfulness.
and on to our final destination (with a much quieter car) we arrived at the los angeles american girl store.

they were ever so happy picking out a new outfit for their dolls. they quickly found their "character" dolls. little S has an imitation target "american" girl doll..... shhhh don't tell her. after the other girls found their character doll scenes, she quickly realized there was not a set-up for "melissa". she was carrying her doll upside down by one leg and loudly announcing that there "were no melissa's here!"

S has molly but prefers the sparkly show outfits rather than the time period outfits.
L with her beloved chrissa.
D with dear josephina.
little S with "melissa"
they were pretty hopped up when we left so we though it would be a good idea to then pump them full of sugar.
when finally arriving back to our car, which we had to park about 2 miles away because of the awesome retro pop-up trailer, we were greeted with a kindly placed parking ticket on our windshield. oh well. and we started the long journey back home... and quickly found ourselves in rush hour LA traffic. yuck! luckily (?) it wasn't long before we realized we had a flat tire! it was almost humorous at this point. we did get to escape the traffic tho.

before we finally hit the road for good, we made one last drive-thru for dinner at good old mickey d's. our food choices deteriorated as the days passed by. we started out with fancy restaurants in vegas, then on to several stops at diner, drive-in's and dive recommendations (which is my FAV thing to do. i downloaded an app that let you know which ones you were closest to. flavortown usa. the best thing ever.) and then we reduced ourselves to driving thru mcdonalds. so gross. except for the $1 iced teas. anywho.... a few hours into the trip, little S says she's hungry. i asked her if she ate her dinner.. she then passed me the box exclaiming that she didn't want to eat the "white-ness"
that is about 2 hours worth of nibbling off every particle of breading and leaving the "white-ness". it was an interesting drive home to say the least.


The Richardson's said...

What a fun trip! You are brave traveling in such tight quarters with so many little kids. I don't think I have it in me...

Glad you had fun!!!!!!!

Love, Mindy said...

What an awesome trip!!! I love the girls' matching outfits throughout the're good sister!!! Glad you are home safe and sound. xoxo

ang's little divas said...

looks like you guys had alot of fun!! and I agree with the other poster-you have a great amount of patience to travel that far (and CAMP)with all your precious little ones!! you and Paul are great parents :)

Anonymous said...

haha, she didn't like the whiteness.

Anonymous said...

love, sissy.

Chris said...

Sounds like an absolutely fantastic trip!