Friday, March 26, 2010

The time is near...

It is near my boys' birthdays, are they really going to be 19 & 21?

It is near Easter, I am excited for new growth, life, and spirit.

It is near April 6th, the day Charlie leaves for Wisconsin on temporary assignment. I try to not think about it but also realize I need to really prepare mentally for it as well as be supportive for him, he will be more alone own than I will be here at home.

It is near the anniversary of Dad's death, April 9th, 2004. I drove past a burning field of weeds the other night after work and just couldn't stop myself from weeping. Dad used to keep control of our pasture when he didn't have any cows to feed by burning the weeds...I always think of him when I smell that smell. It is odd how smells can remind you of a person place or time from your past.

It is near the birth of a new nephew, it will be so much fun to see him grow!

So many things taking place...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

California Part 7, the Finale...

Wednesday was a beautiful day, not too warm as was the next day, but it was still nice weather. We set off to Disneyland only a 15 minute walk form our resort. As we entered Savannah posed on the Mickey Mouse shaped bench. We first went in the Tiki room, I remember that one the most from the first time I went. I remember how much of a kick out of it my dad got too, he just loved it. We walked right in with no wait time too which made it more enjoyable. Next we went on the Jungle Cruise, Savannah thought the animated robotic animals were real and I agree that they did a great job on them. I really felt nostalgic at that moment knowing this had all started so long ago. We took off next to the Indiana Jones ride which Charlie really liked and Savannah not so much. I remember really liking it from the last time I went too, but I think having a scared 6 year old kind of took away from my adventurous side as I felt bad for her being scared.

She got over it quick enough and we went to the Haunted Mansion. Savannah was surprised to see the transparent ghouls flying around and I reminded her of the Casper movie...she wasn't so scared and really laughed at the one that sat on her lap on the way out. I think that is one of my favorite rides. That and the Pirates of the Caribbean. They did a lot of additions to this one...from the move that is. They added a few Jack Sparrows in there hiding in different places, they even had him move around like Johnny Depp, the actor, would have. It was really cool.

They also made a lot of additions to the submarine ride. You could see the movie of Finding Nemo under the water as if you were there with them...they also had the silly seagulls that would say, "Mine!" on a buoy above the water. It was really cute.

We spent the rest of the day catching one ride to the next and were able to get through almost all that we wanted but about a few before closing time. On the way back our feet hurt so bad but it was sooo worth it. We went home and really pooped out.

Next morning it was very warm at least 70 by 10 oClock, or at least it felt that warm. We hit up some of the rides we didn't get to go on the day before and I forgot how much I really liked the Peter Pan is my favorite. I just love looking down into what looks like London at night and seeing all the little lights that resemble cars move on the streets.

We headed to California adventure park to Ariel's Grotto as we had reservations for the themed lunch. Savannah's face just lit up when she saw Ariel come out of the room and she was just glowing and smiling from ear to ear. She got to meet Snow White, Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella too. She didn't eat her lunch just as they said she wouldn't cause she was so excited. She couldn't stop staring at their dresses. Takes me back to when I was a girl and loved those princess stories too.

We stayed in the park there afterward and were really tired from the day before, but managed to catch a good portion of the rides. The Bugs' Life 3D show was really unique and a lot of fun. You left there chuckling and we felt they did a super job. I have to say thought that we went on the Tower of Terror thinking it would be mildly scary such as the Haunted Mansion but we were wrong. We both felt and still feel terribly bad for having Savannah go on that ride, it was so scarry for us let alone what it must have been for a little girl her age, but then again we know people that have kids her age that seemed to love it.

We only stayed at the parks for two days and left home Friday but we definitely had fun, more than I've even talked about. We all were pretty pooped and felt we did all we wanted to do by the time afternoon hit on Thursday that I didn't take a lot pictures after the princess lunch. Let the pictures speak for themselves, and these aren't all of them!
Savannah and Ariel.
Savannah and Snow White, she was my favorite.
Savannah getting Cinderella's autograph.
Charlie's "Grumpy" hat we got as a souvenir. Doesn't it just fit?
Main Street at night...pretty!
Savannah in front of Ariel's Grotto the princess themed restaraunt.
Savannah getting her crown from Ariel.
Posing at the front gate...she was such a little poser the whole vacation thinking of all kinds of pictures to pose for..."Mom take a picture of me here, take a picture of me there..." I think it is my error in that I have trained her to be this way...
Savannah smiling as she is anxiously excited for the boat ride on Jungle Cruise.
In front of the castle. Savannah didn't understand why we didn't go "inside" of it but just through it.
My favorite, It's A Small World clock tick tocking, but pretty much only for nostalgic reasons. Yes the song drives me nuts but I feel like a kid again, ya know?
Savannah looking at everything, by the expression on her face she is just taking it all in.
Some pics of the Holland kids in Small World.
Savannah on the tea cup awaiting for us to start.
Waiting for the Dumbo ride...
Waiting in line for Charlie's favorite, Space Mountain. Of course he could live in Tomorrowland if you let him. This was the ONLY ride that we waited forever for, but as usual it is one of the most popular. We were trying to keep ourselves preoccupied. The pic didn't turn out too bad either.

I really enjoyed Disneyland more than I thought I would even though there was a lot of it that Charlie didn't  due to too many people and kids however well we all know he is a grump, but I would totally go back in a heart beat. I never thought of Disney as being magical, but it really was!

I felt like our vacation was very successful, we did a lot, saw a lot, and had a lot of fun. Memories that will last forever!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

California part 6...

Tuesday morning we packed up our SUV and headed out to Universal City to visit Universal Studios. We took I-5 and found out how much traffic there was aside from rush hour - and I thought our traffic here was bad. Just not sure where everyone was going?

It was very cold and windy that morning, I guess there was some weird wind that cam through and cooled the place off. We got there later than we wanted and because of this we were ready to eat when we got there. It was so cold that we chose to sit in a different location than where we bought our food so as to sit in the sun to keep warm but we were told to leave as we didn't buy our food there. Needless to say the cold and this woman didn't start the day off right. In addition Charlie had a headache.

We ventured off to see Terminator 2 in 3D and was surprised with all the effects. Savannah was scared and didn't like the water they sprinkled on us when the glass broke in the movie. It almost felt like really glass shards too. From there we went on the Simpsons simulated roller coaster ride, it was cute but made my stomach hurt. Savannah didn't like that either and after that she was worried the rest of the time for all the rides we were going to go on. She was also very scared of the Backdraft fire exhibit but I don't blame her. Fire scares me too.

We went on the tour ride around the studios and saw a lot of the props for movies like Great Outdoors, Jaws, & How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey and a bunch more. The pond there they said was used for the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou? for the scene where they were flooded...I had no idea! Charlie got soaked when they showed us the area they use for rain and flood scenes and we both thought it was pretty neat how they made the cars from the Fast & Furious movie dance around.

On the way through the park Savannah met up with some of her favorite people...she was tickled by Curious George and turned as red as a beet. We've never seen her so blushed!

Scene from War of the Worlds...remember this?
Savannah standing in front of the park.

We didn't stay much longer after that as Charlie was very cold and most of the rest of the good rides had height requirements that were too tall for Savannah. They did have a couple shows we wanted to see but didn't want to wait and were anxious to get to Anaheim and check in our room to prepare for Disneyland the next day.

Once we got to Anaheim and checked in our room we both agreed we enjoyed the other resort better. The ones here were very nicely furnished and the resort is fairly new but it wasn't as relaxing as the other one. The people at the resort who checked us in weren't very friendly either. There was no fireplace or BBQ in our unit and there were a lot more kids, but hey we were less than 2 miles from Disneyland so what else should we expect. We had yet to find that the bed was hard and there was too much light in the bedroom but we were still comfortable.
Living room.
Living room entertainment center.
Master bedroom.
Master TV and dresser.

After settling in we bought steaks and shrimp for dinner. We found it odd that the local grocery store didn't sell half dozen cartons of eggs so we had no choice but to buy a whole carton for the remaining 3 days of our trip. Dinner was good and Savannah slept with us that night as she was scared in the fold out bed of the new room.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

California part 5...

Monday morning we set off for free breakfast at the resort and then played a game of pool. We ventured out to the beach to the enjoy the last day at Oceanside. We ate lunch on the pier at Oceanside Harbor Fish & Chips - I just had to have them. Something about being near the ocean makes me crave fish, that and you can smell the fish frying in all the restaraunts there.

Savannah "chalking" her pool cue.

Oceanside Harbor Fish & Chips was a cute little diner with a lot of history on the walls. The size of the fish they served were huge too. I really should have gotten a picture!

While the weather wasn't too sunny and overcast, we still enjoyed ourselves. Savannah chased the gulls and we pretty much were beach combers for a day. We spotted a few crabs in the break and also played with the clams that washed up shore...hopefully the seagulls didn't get to them after we put them back in the ocean.
Savannah chasing the gulls.
Sailboat sailing beyond the white caps...
Mr. Crab in the break trying to hide from us.
Anemones in the break tide pool. Charlie wanted to take them home.
Charlie was excited to find a few whole sand dollars to take home and add to his aquarium ensemble.

We had to say our goodbyes to the ocean and pack up to leave for Anaheim the next morning. I don't think it will be soon enough before we can get back!

California part 4...

Sunday we met up with my cousin Loretta who lives in California…we met at a mall and McDonald’s in Lakewood near Buena Parkand let the kids run wild while we visited and got to know a little more about each other. I don’t think I’ve seen her since I was a teen and a lot has happened since then! Her kids are just as cute as they are on Facebook. Savannah and Marley really enjoyed playing together. We didn’t get to meet her husband unfortunately but she will be in our neighborhood this summer so we’ll have to go see her again. I was bummed when I realized that I totally forgot to get a picture of her and I together but I did get some of the kids.
Here is Savannah and Marley playing in the was hard to get them to look at me at the same time for the pose.

We departed and drove to Buena Park that afternoon to dine at Medieval Times, a restaurant themed around sword fighting and jousting. As we waited we looked around at all the souvenirs you can buy, the horses waiting in the stalls (yes they were inside) and visited the bar. We got a 32 oz beer stein that I swear does not hold that much beer! But we also drank a couple of them…I think they encourage you to come early not because you'll lose your seat but to be tempted to have one of those full of beer and be so buzzed you will spend more money on souvenirs - and that we did. Savannah picked out a princess hat and spent her whole allowance in one shot!
I think she is happy with her purchase.

On the menu was a half roasted chicken, baked potato, tomato biqsue soup with bread, and a bavarian pastry for desert - only you are to eat it all with your bare hands as they did in those days. While we ate we cheered for the blue knight in our corner of the arena. He would pass out flowers to the girls and each time Savannah anxiously awaited her turn and was bummed he didn't choose her. However at the end she was the lucky one who got the love and beauty ribbon. She was so excited and was about to burst, or at least that is what it looked like on the movie I took. They came by to take her picture and well she had such a cheesy grin of course we bought it for a souvenier. We had tons of fun though and our voices were hoarse the next day from screaming and cheering.

Here is Savannah eating with her hands, this should be normal for her though.
The blue knight we cheered for.

As you can guess Charlie really got a kick out of it as he loves this kind of stuff, he was so excited he couldn't wait to get in the door. It was really time we'll have to try the Pirate themed dinner next door.

California part 3...

Friday morning we made a quick egg and bacon breakfast and coffee, much better than eating at McDonald’s! The weather was beautiful and I enjoyed seeing all the vineyards and nurserys as we headed to the Wild Animal Park in San Diego.
I have to admit that when you first get to the park it is unimpressive and you are not too sure what to expect but when you get around the bend of the birds and out of the bushes it is an overwhelming sight!
Giraffes roaming free on acres and acres of green fields along with wilder beasts, gazelles, & rhinos. It reminded me of the movie Jurassic Park.
Of course the lions are in view but in a separate space. They seemed to like to watch their natural prey but it was kind of scary as I imagined them leaping over the fence to catch their dinner. Yikes.

The gorillas seemed to enjoy basking in the sun and the zoo staff ensured us they were stimulated mentally with daily activities they called “enrichment” to keep them healthier and happier. The elephants would run around their field to get treats and there was a two week old baby that followed his mamma wherever she went it was so dang cute!

I was a little bummed because my camera ran out of battery right before we went on the tour guide and so I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted. It was a beautiful sunny day until the afternoon when the clouds covered, but we were already on our way home by then. When we got back Charlie made a nice fish dinner on the grill with fresh broccoli and baked potato, it was soo good and the fish he got at the local grocery store called “Swai” was only $1.97 a pound - unbelievably cheap and very good tasting with lemon and pepper.

Saturday morning we ate around the corner at Carrow’s restaurant for breakfast, I wasn’t in the mood to cook and wanted to go there for old time’s sake as my sister Tina used to work at one when she lived in California. Silly I know. We headed out to the Birch Aquarium at the University of San Diego and enjoyed watching all the sea creatures. I don’t think we can get tired of this stuff. Savannah loved the jelly fish and also had fun making a weather report and seeing herself on the TV.
The weather was a little cooler that day.
Savannah playing with a rubber lobster in the tidal pool exhibit.

They had a small movie and demonstration on the earth's global warming which I have to admit made me a little bit depressed, but it is good to know. Makes you think twice when you drive your car. There was also some education on the seahorses and how they reproduced and I learned that the male carries the babies and births them. Pretty cool.

We relaxed the rest of the afternoon and made burgers on the grill and rented a couple of DVD’s. I was leery about getting the internet connected in our room as I really wanted to be “unplugged” from all phones/internet connection, but thought I better keep track of our bank account due to the lost card and ID situation. I have also found it to be helpful to keep up on my blogging and posting pictures and think it is now beneficial as I would have been overwhelmed doing it all when we arrived home.

Monday, March 08, 2010

California part 2...

Wednesday we decided to spend the day relaxing in our resort room and just do what we wanted, after that bout of driving time and dealing with the busyness of sin city we wanted to relax. We also needed to get some groceries for our room and a few loads of laundry done. It was great to get up when we wanted and after buying a few groceries we spent the day at the pool/spa and the Oceanside Harbor beach just bein’ bums. Later that night we had a strawberry daiquiri and grilled baby back ribs and squash on the BBQ - it sure did taste good! We played a game of Sorry, sat in the hot tub, and well then we all kind of sacked out. Obviously needed.

View from our balcony.
Walking to the harbor.
Many surfers were out that day.
Savannah wrote her name in the sand. She brought her cowboy hat and originally had it turned backwards as she didn't want anyone to see the cowboy star and think she was a cowgirl on the beach.
Pelican perched on one of the local boats in the harbor.
Building sand castles.
Savannah making a friend in the pool.

Next morning we headed to the train station enroute to Sea World via the Coaster train then transferring to the city bus in Old Town. We got there just as the first bus was leaving thinking we had plenty of time, but we were wrong - apparently the bus leaves right on time! So we scavenged the nearby beach for a bit then caught the next one. When we got on the next bus we were waiting in our seats anxiously excited only to find out it was having problems so the conductor made everyone get off saying it could be an hour before we were able to get going. I was completely bummed...while I knew not everything on our trip would be perfect, I just didn't want to get to Sea World so late in the day. I was so relieved to find that just as soon as we got off we were told to get back on - everything was good to go!

Train we rode.
Me & Boo's waiting for the train ride.

We had a lot of fun watching all the sea animals and of course my favorite and the one thing I wanted to go for was to see Shamu. It was a short show but it was very entertaining. Those mammals have so much personality! Turns out they also have other pet shows for dogs but we didn't realize it until it was over. I wanted to go on the river raft ride but good thing Charlie talked me out of it as the people getting off the ride were completely soaked! It wasn't too warm that day and it would not have been fun freezing our little tushies off. We did however sit in the "soak zone" to watch Shamu's show but Shamu didn’t get us but a sprinkle wet.

Savannah got her face painted and really had a hard time deciding to wash it off in order to sit in the hot tub with us that night, but she gave in. So many people commented on it to her and took her picture it was funny to see how she became so bashful about it. We rode a simulated helicopter ride in the arctic zone where it "took" us to see the white whales, polar bears, & a silly walrus who was scratching his back on the corner of his tank. I think the simulated ride scared Savannah but it also got her riled up and wanting more. We told her there will be more of those kinds of rides at the end of our vacation.

The ray tanks were pretty cool...the eels they lived with however were pretty motionless and kind of scarry looking.

I read somewhere in the park that the flamingos were pink because they ate shrimp. Not sure if that is true or not but why would they lie?
Savannah getting her face painted.

We got back after sunset and grilled a few hot dogs and just wound dow soaking in the hot tub, and then pretty much out of it the rest of the night. I can sure tell I have a desk job, as my body is used to all this walking and have had leg cramps every night - but I sure enjoy getting out and doing it.

Speaking of dog shows and hot dogs...Savannah has mentioned a couple of times already that she misses the dogs, I guess those two rascals are her best friends when it comes down to it. I can't say as that I miss their dog hair but I do miss them following us around everywhere and would love to take Bear to the beach to chase the seagulls!