Tuesday, March 31, 2009

California Dreaming

I could get used to this. Can't say enough about the California sunshine. The weather has been picture perfect since we arrived in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon.

But the one thing I hadn't counted on when we finally arrived was having the worst case of car sickness ever--which isn't the best thing on a vacation that revolves around amusement parks. I have never been prone to motion sickness, so I was totally caught off guard. Thank goodness James and the kids were none worse for the wear. We found a Wal-Greens nearby and the Dramamine seems to have done the trick. I felt human again when I woke up this morning. We spent the whole day at Knotts Berry Farm without incident. The kids had a blast. Even ride-reluctant James enjoyed himself. Isaiah did surprisingly well on the kiddie rides. He especially liked the stage coach with the horses and the train ride. We just finished closing down the place and have a full agenda for Disney tomorrow.

Mariah asked James if we could move here forever. With weather like this, I'm open to the idea.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cali, baby.

We arrived in California this morning and were immediately asked if we were bringing fruits or vegetables into the state. We were SO not expecting an inspection station. I totally forgot about the Pink Lady apples I had sliced in the cooler, but I don't think that was the loot they were concerned about anyway. After passing through Redding and Sacramento, we decided to call it a day and pulled into our hotel here in Lathrop, California, for the night. It's REALLY windy today, but it's also sunny, so I'm not about to complain (it's rainy with highs in the 40's in Seattle today).

I was absolutely thrilled to see my first real-life palm trees and olive groves. Once we check-out tomorrow morning, we should be getting to the resort by the 4pm check-in time.

As for tonight, the Brownies will be chilling poolside.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Travel Log Day 1: Welcome to Oregon

We have just spent 7 hours on the road. Half of it was in the driving rain (and a bit of snow down near southern Washington). We are settling into a hotel in Medford, Oregon, tonight. We should hit the California state line sometime tomorrow morning after a good night's sleep and hot complimentary breakfast.

James has made excellent time so far--although I had to remind him a few times that we aren't on "The Amazing Race" and CANNOT be eliminated. One thing we have discovered along the way is that Oregon is a beautiful state. All this time while planning our trip, I had just considered it the state that stood between us and Disneyland. But the scenery is reminiscent of our long drives through the Bavarian countryside. Simply breathtaking.

Something else we learned is that it is against the law to pump your own gas in the state of Oregon. And I'm so glad they had a sign posted because we had no clue about that one. Would've been a shame to get locked up while on vacation.

Any-who, we are going to find some dinner and get some rest.

California, here we come...sooner or later.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's time to "GO"-atee.

Whenever James goes on leave for any extended time, he likes to grow out his goatee. And I love it. The Army forbids him from sporting his goatee at all other times, so taking leave allows him the opportunity to grow it out to his heart's content. It's one of the perks of being "on vacation". He started growing it out today.

Tomorrow morning we leave for our Big Fat Vacation. James took off today to get the van serviced and detailed. I should be washing and packing instead of typing, but I could seriously use a break. Packing for a family of five who will be spending 10 days at a total of no fewer than 5 different hotels is no small feat. But I started planning for this weeks ago ~ it's all about tying up loose ends now.

We've estimated getting to southern California by Monday (2 overnight pitstops along the way from here to there) and spending 2 nights in San Francisco on the way home. With any luck, we'll be back home by Christmas Eve.

Friday, March 20, 2009

To "Car Circle" Parents...

Please, please, PLEASE learn to "Car Circle" properly. In theory, Car Circle is a wonderful invention. Pull directly up to the school, drop off the kids, and pull away. Next car--wash, rinse, repeat. When executed properly, it works as smoothly as a Swiss Timepiece. Done incorrectly and I might have to lean into my horn.

First off, if you have to put your car in "park" and actually get out of your driver's seat position, you are abusing the Car Circle (oh and before you call me out on it, the only reason I have to put my van in "park" during the process is because that is the only way my sliding door will open automatically--found that out the hard way...)

Please direct your attention to the PARKING LOT on your left. And use it. Really, that's what it is there for. There you can get out, open Junior's door for him, get that last minute kiss goodbye and pluck that dried egg off of his face. NONE of those things should be performed in the Car Circle.

Oh and on your walk over to the school, please don't cross in front of my van. Some of use have jobs to get to. Or just a hot cup of coffee waiting at home. ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Who Took Me Gold?!"

Here's our own little leprechaun:

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Dirty Little Secret

I'm all about coupons and sales...unless it's "Mountain Spring" Tide. I'll buy it at full price--even if something else is on sale. It's liquid gold as far as I am concerned. Not only does it clean dutifully, but it smells incredible. The scent takes me away to my personal paradise--smack dab in the middle of the day. It's aroma gently lingers in the laundry, so every time I put on a piece of clothing or unfurl a sheet or towel, there it is. Paradise.

James just doesn't get it. He can't truly appreciate it the way I do. So I've had to resort to drastic measures. Presently, in the laundry room we have 2 bottles of "Mountain Spring" Tide. But only one actually contains "Mountain Spring" Tide. The other holds an inferior detergent. And that's what I use on his laundry.

I'm not proud. But hey, with what I save with the cheaper detergent, James can afford to take me away to a real paradise one day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Rat is out of the Bag

The kids know.

We were going to wait until Friday to spill it, but thanks to their very eager Daddy, they now know we'll be spending Spring Break at Disneyland. We are all over the moon about this trip. We have decided to drive, because after all--getting there is half the fun. (Just don't ask me about the coming back part).

With the economy the way it is, this might seem frivolous or foolish, but we can't afford not to go. James received his official orders for Iraq 2 days ago. He is definitely deploying. We could not pass up this opportunity.

The drive is a pretty straightforward. Seriously, I plugged in the destination and literally we leave our neighborhood, merge onto I-5 South, and drive for 1000 miles. Destination ahead on the right.

We plan on making stops along the way and want to drop in on the San Francisco scene on the way back. Mostly we are going to play it by ear. That tends to be the least stressful and most relaxing. And when you're spending 17 hours (each way) held hostage in a minivan with 3 kids, that's the only way to play it.

Pray. For. Me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Little Brother is Watching...

....himself get old.

Today is my baby brother's birthday. Kyle was born 9 years after me and was one stunning baby. People would literally stop my mom on the street, in the mall, the grocery store--just to tell her how gorgeous he was. Look at him now--a hubby (thanks again for marrying him, Tiana!) and daddy of 2 beautiful girls. He might be all big and "grown", but he'll always be my baby bro.

Happy Birthday, Kylie Wylie! ;)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Brownies Gone Wild

Spring Break '09 is poised to be really special. It will probably be our last big hoorah before James deploys. Yesterday while driving to the mall, we put a serious contender on the table. We haven't mentioned it to the kids yet, but it would involve a great big rodent and an even bigger road trip. Still working on the details, but this could be one of the "happiest" vacations ever...

Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Horton Hears a "NO".

I have not been enjoying Theodore Geisel's birthday week at the kids' school. Every day has a theme and the students are encouraged to dress accordingly each day. This celebration of Dr. Seuss comes around every year, so you would think I'd be prepared. You'd think. But I'm not. I'm always scrambling at the last minute for crazy socks and weird hats. And apparently I'm not the only one. Savannah and I were in the PX last night and wandered over to the girls' department to see if we could find something special for her and Mariah to wear for "Red Fish, Blue Fish" today. That's when another exasperated mom came up and exclaimed, "Are you looking for blue and red too? This is impossible!"

The kids really enjoy this special week, but in actuality, I would not, could not in a box. I would not, could not with a fox.

This Grinch can't wait for it to be over.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Let's get l-o-u-d!

My adorable son has become quite the adorable parrot. Lately, he's been trying his best to imitate sounds and words. I'd be thrilled to say he's been screaming "MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!" But, alas, other words just seem to be more fun.

Here he is trying his best to get "loud" with me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I, Robot

Savannah's class was featured at a technolgy fair over the weekend. That's my girl!

World Thinking Day

Mariah's troop participated in the Girl Scouts "World Thinking Day" event. They represented Mexico. Muy bien!