Friday, July 31, 2009

The Twelve Days of Vacaton

Day 1 and 2
After our 4th of July party we came home and started packing. We packed until we were tired and then got up in the morning and packed more. I couldn't leave my house until it was clean so we made sure all the laundry was done, had clean sheets on the bed and all the garbage was out. We hit the road late Sunday morning and stopped in the evening to visit my cousin, Sharon an her kids, who lives in Vacaville. Sharon's husband DJ was out of town for job related training. Once there we met up with my aunt Christine from Texas, cousin Selina, from Hawaii, and Grandma Betty from Southern California. We had dinner with them, stayed the night and went to the Jelly Belly Factory the next day. After lunch we hit the road to finish our long drive to So Cal.

*Note: Grandpa Betty is my dad's step mom. Christine is her daughter and Sharon and Selina are Christine's daughters.

Day 3
We visited Newport Beach and played all day. (see previous beach post for photos) The weather was great. Very breezy and 90 degrees. This was by far the most relaxing day of our vacation. After the beach we met our friends, Ed and Rikki, at In and Out Burger in Laguna Hills. I forgot to take a picture of Ed and Rikki. We ended up with some pretty righteous sunburns in all the places we missed with sunscreen. The boys had racoon eyes and howard and I were just plain crispy.

Day 4
We stayed at my Aunt Terrie and Uncle Dan's house. (they wouldn't let me take a picture of them) for the duration of our vacation. They have a wonderful home and were very gracious. They said they enjoyed having a family of two parents and 3 hooligans for a 10 day visit. I'm sure they are still finding remnants of sand and fingerprints from our stay. On day 4 we spent our day running errand, visiting a local park, doing laundry, cleaning the sand from the car, reorganizing our belongs and resting for the long days ahead at Disneyland and California adventures.
Day 5
Was our first day at the "happiest place on earth". We chose to visit California Adventures. Our very first ride was Tower of Terror. Bad parent confession #1.What horrible parents we are for putting Carter on that ride! He is still traumatized by the event. If I had any idea what the ride was like I would have never put him on it. Jordan, Grant and I enjoyed the bigger rides like California Screamin' and the Maliboomer for the rest of the day while Howard and Carter played arcade games and smaller kid rides. In the evening we watched the electrical parade.

Day 6
We spent the day at Disneyland. It was Grant's 7th birthday, so he was given a special button to wear that said "Happy Birthday Grant". Everyone who worked at Disneyland that day stopped him and wished him a Happy Birthday! 800 birthday saludes later, he was tired of wearing the button. We spent the whole entire day at the park and our legs were so,so,so sore. This day was much hotter and humid than the first day, with temperatures around 107. My cousin Stephanie and her husband and kids met us in the park for the day and my aunt and uncle came later to spend some time with us also. We watched fantasmic and the firework show. The pirate ship in fantasmic was really cool to see. The boys enjoyed the Peter Pan vs. Captain Hook battle. Here is a picture of grant on his 7th birthday and a few other photos from that day.

Day 7
Day 7 was Saturday and we were not about to go to Disneyland for a 3rd day in a row with already sore legs and it being a weekend. Instead we drove to Murietta (near San Diego) and visited with more of my cousins. It was about 110 degrees and cookin!
Thankfully, they had a huge community pool.
Unfortunately, we didn't take any swim clothes.
Thankfully, it was so hot we didn't care. The boys stripped down to their undies and Howard and I wore our clothes in the pool

We ate lunch and visited with my Aunt Linda, her new fiance' John, my cousin Buddy, his wife Amber and their kiddo, Dustin. My other cousin, Julie, her boyfriend Chris and Julie's two kids,Gunther and Audryalso came to visit with us. I didn't get a picture of Linda and John but I did get pictures of everyone else.
*Note: Uncle Johnny is my mom's brother. We missed seeing him and two other cousins, Lori and Annie, who are Buddy and Julie's other two sisters.
*Note 2: Amber and Julie are both pregnant, Amber due soon and Julie in January.

Day 8
On Sunday, back at Aunt Terrie's house 4 of her 5 kids (more cousins) came to visit and have a BBQ. Uncle Dan BBQ'd New York steaks that were so tasty! We celebrated Grant's birthday and Aunt Terrie's birthday with a cake. Although, Grant got the candles and most of the glory. My cousins Amy, Stephanie, Christopher and Matthew were there. The very middle of them, Nathan, lives in N.C. with his wife and 3 boys. Stephanie's husband Maurice and kids Jackson and Carys joined us as well. Grant dressed up his skeleton stick from Disneyland for the occasion and the kids played in the pool.
*Note: Aunt Terrie is my mom's sister.

Day 9
We visited Disneyland for the last day. On this day we hopped back and forth between both parks, riding on rides that we missed in the first two days and riding all the ones we loved a few more times. On this night we met some friends from my work for dinner at the House of Blues.
Jim and Jennifer and their boys Derek and Jimmy were on a separate vacation trip to Disneyland and it was great to see familiar faces after so many days from home. After big juicy burgers, greasy fries and cold beer we went our separate ways with the idea that we would see each other back at work in a week or so. A few more pictures follow of our last day at Disneyland, the hottest and even longer day in the park. We arrived at 10am and stayed until 1am. Howard carried Grant to the car while I carried Carter. Both of them sleeping soundly as we left the park. Bad parent confession #2. We ran our kids into the ground enjoying all the sights and sounds.

Day 10
We were technically still at Disneyland. We got home at 2am and by the time we showered and got into bed it was almost 3am. I was jolted out of bed at 8:30 by my phone ringing. It was Jennifer. Jim had been having chest pain since the night before and finally at 8am they decided to call for an ambulance. They had gone by plane to Anaheim and didn't have a car. So I headed back to Anaheim as quickly as I could and scooped up Jennifer and the boys to head for the hospital where Jim was at. Jen went into the ER room while I stayed with the boys in the waiting room. A little while later Jen came and confirmed that Jim had a heart attack. Apparently the juicy burger, etc. caught up with him! I spent the rest of the day at the hospital to help out while Jim had an angiogram and then got them settled back at the hotel with some groceries. With Jim in the hospital and Jen with no car, and no kids allowed in ICU they decided that it would be best for Jen to continue to take the kids to Disneyland each day while Jim stayed in the hospital.
Later that night we headed to Pomona to visit more family. Yes, there is more... Aunt Denise and Uncle Tom, Heidi and Tyler. (the middle child, Annie, is in Chili for a mission trip). Heidi is married to Russell. This day happened to be Tyler's 18th birthday and his girlfriend, Emily (from Oregon) came to help celebrate. My Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Richard were there too. We ate a wonderful home cooked dinner. It tasted great after 10 days of fast food and Disneyland food! Tyler's birthday presents were one of a kind. Doesn't any 18 year old boy want 1) an animal trap for squirrels 2) a new shower head 3) a case of lifewater 4) Ax body wash 5) a USB thumbdrive? Hilarious combination of gifts.
*Note: Aunt Denise and Aunt Yvonne are my dad's sisters.

Day 11
Was supposed to be our drive home, but we had a few days of cushion before I had to be back to work, so we decided to stay and help out with Jim and Jen. Sometime during the night before, Jim ended up having what was thought to be a second heart attack, but it ended up being a major heart spasm. None the less, a second angiogram was performed to make sure there was no more blockages. We drove over to Anaheim. Howard stay with the 5 little boys at the hotel, took them swimming, cooked them dinner and got mset up with a movie, while Jen and I headed back to the hospital. That night it was determined that Jim would be released the next day so we decided to bug out the next morning. (This is were I add a note about how wonderful and brave a husband I have to take 5 boys, ages 3-9 to a swimming pool by himself!)
Day 12
We left at 5:20 am, only 20 min behind schedule. Beat the rush hour traffic in So Cal and stopped for breakfast after the grapevine. Near Stockton we diverted for a quick trip through the Ghiridelli's chocolate factory. We travelled all day and ended up pulling into our hometown at 7:30pm. 14 hours later, we arrived home with mom at our door step with a hot meal for our tired souls. It was so nice to come home to a clean house and a warm meal. Jim was release from the hospital a bit earlier that day and is now back at home still recovering.
Total people we visited: 6 friends, 1 former neighbor, 1 grandma, 3 Uncles, 5 Aunts, 15 cousins/cousins spouses, 8 second cousins, 2 second cousins (in utero).
And that my friends is the longest post I have ever written! Hello, hello, are you there? Your eyes are glazed over. Are you still with me? Oh, good, there you are. Nice to have you back in the present again. Thanks for Sorin' over California with me.

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