Sunday, August 26, 2012

Home Already?

Well 2/3 of our trip has come to a close, unfortunately. But first, Cali wanted a mommy day at the park, so that's just what we did. She had a you can probably tell!!

Then I had to have my Kindergarten friend get-together!! No, they're not friends of mine who are in Kindergarten...they are my friends who I met in Kindergarten & we all still keep in fairly close contact. It's so awesome to see what we all are doing in our lives now. I can't ever go to CA without seeing my friends. This time, we met & had dinner at Downtown Disney. It was SUCH a great time!
Me, Tiffanee, Janine, Joslyn, Tammy

Left: Tammy & me        Right: Tiffanee & me

 Joslyn, Tammy, Tiffanee, me, & Janine

It was such a great time catching up with everyone & I can't wait to see them all again!!!

Now we just have our drive home. On our way down here we went more to the East so on our way home we came up the West coast. Our original plan was go completely up the coast of CA, OR, & WA into Seattle, then go completely East until we got home. However, w/ time & money we weren't able to do that. We started home & went to Paso Robles to see my Great Aunt & Uncle for a couple hours...
Then we were back on the road towards Napa to see my biological dad. The girls had a lot of fun with Grandpa Gary & Jojo!
We went for lunch, the girls got ice cream, then we played at 2 different parks.

The girls w/ Grandpa Gary & Jojo
Then we were on our way home...
...with a stop in Spokane for the night to see my Aunt Shirene & Uncle Pat & their family. Here is Cali & her cousin Kensley playing dress-up.

...& we finally made it home the next day. It was an absolutely awesome trip to remember & we all had a blast! This is how we all felt once we got home though... (and yes, she's sound asleep!!!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh California!

California....Oh how I love thee!!!

It's no surprise that I'd LOVE to move back here, but the timing's just not right yet. Hopefully someday. :)

We have literally been jam-packed the whole time we've been here...which could be a good thing or a bad thing!! We got here Monday night, the 13th, so here's a recap of what we've been up to......

We cut the girls hair...

We went & saw Grandpa Gary & then went to Aunt Valerie's house to see more family. The girls fell asleep in the car & we didn't want to risk having a crabby-Cali so this is how Dustin carried her to the house!! It's too priceless to not snap a quick picture!

We took the girls to Disneyland...see next blog post!!

We didn't do much, & then that night Dustin & I had a date night close to home at Lucille's & then went & saw Total Recall. It was a nice night just the 2 of us. :)

The first day of our Family Reunion was today! We had a beach bonfire tonight & it was loads of fun. However, I hate the beach. I guess that's a big "however", but still!!! Ugh Sand!!! I now know why my mom hardly ever took me to the beach as a kid. I knew Brooklyn would like the beach but I never knew HOW much she'd like it! Take a look..

Getting the bonfire pits are first come first served...with no reservations available. My aunt & uncle were there a few months ago at 6 am & they were all they made sure to get there early this time. The kicker was, though, that there was hardly anyone there at that time! Figures. We had shifts so that the same people didn't have to be there the whole time. I was the 3rd shift, from noon to 2pm, so I sat there at the bonfire pit for a few hours getting burned. I wanted to take my iPad to read my book, but I left it plugged in at home. UGH! But that's ok cause me & my aunt just sat there & talked the whole time. It was really nice & relaxing! After my shift I went back home, picked up Dustin & the girls, then we all went back cause that's when the family was showing up.

Cali & Brooklyn running to "the beach"...(totally unaware that "the beach" is the whole place, not JUST the water!!)

Cali washing off in the showers

Dustin & I at sunset

The group around the bonfire

It was a great day visiting with family...and the girls had an absolute ball!!

Saturday was Day #2 of our family reunion. Ironically enough, it was also the 15th Anniversary of my great-grandpa's death. Our whole entire family who was at our picnic was the product of Nanny & Poppy (my great-grandparents). They had 4 kids, who all had at least 2 kids, who all have kids of their own...which is where we get such a big family. Poppy died the day before I went to The Netherlands in 1997. So with Nanny we have 5 generations in several families, which is so cool. (Actually my great-great grandma died when I was in The Netherlands, so I was fortunate enough to know her well.)

If you take Nanny, who is the mom of all mom's and make her #1, then make each of her kids #'s 2 through 5, then their kids their numbers in chronological order...that makes the youngest member of our family #72! My grandma is #3, my mom is #6, & I am #24 (and so is Dustin since we're married). We got shirts with our own individual numbers on them for the reunion. Here are my little #'s 63 & 68.

And here's a big group picture...with a good 1/3 of our group missing. :(
Oh...and NO...we didn't mean to stand by color. It's just how we turned out!

All the little boys picking on the big boys (Dustin & Curtis)

Cali hitting the pinata

Another Disneyland day...see the next post (when I get around to writing it)!!  ;)

After trying to recover most of the day we went to a Dodger game that night. I'm SO glad we didn't have anything planned for Monday during the day cause we were hurting units! I mean, I know I'm only 30...but WOW I can definitely tell I'm 30! I'm not the early 20-something girl who could walk around all day & go do it over the next day! I was one sore puppy. My whole lower body was aching. We actually didn't get out of bed until about 11am! We did get to go & get yogurt though with our aunt & cousins...which was so yummy!

We went to the Dodger game & watched them LOSE against the Giants. :( But it was fun either way.

Our view (which, in my opinion, is the best in the deck right behind the plate...seriously can't beat it)

We left our seats to go sit by my family so they could help us with the girls. Here's Dustin, the girls, & me...with my mom, Kaitlyn, & Mike looking on in the background!

Tuesday we had a nevus family get-together...which was just so awesome! I totally forgot about traffic, and really thought that the people would have already been at work by 10am, but they weren' we were a whopping whole HOUR late to our nevus beach date. :( I felt so bad, but everyone was really so understanding.

We met at the Santa Monica pier & there were 2 adults with nevus as well as 4 families of kids with nevi's. Such a great turnout, in my opinion. Here's a picture of the kids...

And here's my little beauties in the car on the way home...

That night we were offered 2 free tickets to the Dodger game. Ummm, 2 Dodger games in 2 nights? YES, PLEASE!!! You certainly don't have to ask me twice!! Plus, it was Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead night, which you just can't pass up! Our seats were a level down from where we were the night before, and just about even with the right field foul pole. I couldn't believe all the food places even just one level down from where we usually sit. I have just always sat in the Top Deck so I don't ever remember sitting any lower, which will now be our new seats. Dustin & I were in heaven & we didn't want the game to end!!!

Our view Tuesday night...where they lost, again, to the Giants. :(
Even though they lost, it was still great. We got go see Fernando Valenzuela pitch the first pitch & watch George Lopez announce the starting lineup!

Wednesday was the #2 reason we came to California...for Brooklyn's dermatology appointment with Dr. Eichenfield in San Diego. (More of that to come in another blog post...) So what else should we do while in San Diego...let's go to Sea World! I really wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo but seriously EVERYONE was telling me to go to Sea World we did. Brooklyn & I actually dropped Cali, my brother Michael, & Dustin off at Sea World, then went to her appt, then went back & met up with them.

Here's Mike with the flamingoes

Here's the Shamu show

And here's Cali having a blast on the jumping thing

As great fun as these pictures seem...Sea World was horrible!! Seriously. It was terrible. First off it was $73/person to get in. Then Dustin spent $48 on 2 hot dog meals & a sandwich meal for him, Cali, & Mike while Brooke & I were at the appt. Then later on in the day I spent $28 on just 2 apple juices, a milk, 2 coffee's, & a yogurt parfait. Then every show cost money to see. We did not have to pay for the 10-minute Shamu show, thank goodness. But all the other shows cost money (that we could see). Also, Cali is 40" tall. Well every ride is 42" to ride alone. So Cali had to ride with me for the 3 rides in the Sesame Street play area. She couldn't go alone, like she wanted. So we went to the little kid place...but all of that stuff you had to be less than 39"!! Well what about the poor kids who are 40"?! Brooklyn couldn't go on the bouncy thing that Cali loved. Cali couldn't go on the few rides that she wanted to go needless to say, both the girls were not happy. Mike wanted to go on the water ride...the one that you get soaked on. So I took him. And of course, you literally go under an entire waterfall so we got off the ride completely soaked from head to toe. We could have dried ourselves off in their little machines for $5!! Uhhh, no thank you. But every single other ride says that you can't go on them if you're wet! Super. Plus, we were very disappointed in the lack of animals they had. We thought they'd have had more than what they did have...unless we just weren't looking in the right place. But we were following their who knows?! We actually left a lot earlier than we thought we'd have...but we were very glad to leave. :) It will be a VERY long time before we go back there again!

Today we didn't have anything on our agenda except dinner with my grandma. She had dinner planned since tonight is the last night with all of us. My mom, brothers Mike & Curt, & Curt's girlfriend Kaitlyn are all leaving bright & early in the AM. So we all had dinner together. Then Dustin & I went to my aunt & uncle's house to see if there's any way they can have a cooling system in it. It's been very warm here the past 2 summers so they were curious about air conditioning. It was great to have a lazy day just visiting with family that came over to see us...and write a long blog post too!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Records to Break at Disneyland!

Oh where do I begin?! Let's just say that yesterday's Disneyland trip was monumental. Epic. Amazing. Record-breaking. Slightly tiring. But so much dang fun that we didn't even wake up today until after 11am! Ok I'll start from the beginning...

A couple years ago Dustin & I went to Disneyland & tried to go on as many rides as we could. (If we went on The Matterhorn twice, we would call it 2 rides. Every time we got in a line, got on a ride, & then got off would count as 1.) We got their fairly early & stayed pretty late; & by the end of the day we ended up at 28 rides. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Well that record was all that we could think about. And all we wanted to do was break that record. So when we had an extra day we decided to try it again & go to Disneyland. This time we thought we'd bring along Curt & Kaitlyn to join in the festivities!

So it takes some planning to pull this off!! :o)  I know the place like the back of my hand, so we strategically planned the Fast Passes, parades, fireworks, both parks, & food/potty breaks. I know, I know...kind of crazy, but we were bound & determined to break our record. Disneyland was opened from 8am-midnight so we planned on getting there by 7:30 so we'd be one of the first people in the gates. We left home at 7:20, parked at 7:35, got in the tram & were at the gates by 7:45. And what do you know...but they were already opened! So we got a head start!! :)

We very quickly realized that we would be able to break our record. Even though we were there on a Sunday (a VERY SLOW Sunday, at that) we knew we'd be able to do it once we were at about 15 rides by about 10am! So we decided to take pictures of us holding up the number at each ride, as proof of what rides were which numbers. I won't post all the pictures cause it'd take up too much dang space, but here are a few...

This is our 2nd time on Splash Mountain. :)

Dustin & me on Autopia

The 30-year-old on Ride #30 on the Bell Horse, my favorite horse of all time.

Curt trying to pull the sword.... & a disappointed girlfriend in the background!!

Pirates - #37

CA Screamin - #2

So what was the final number, you might ask?! We didn't just pass our old record of 28...we obliterated our old record of 28! Our final number....take a look for yourself...
Yes, 48 rides! And this isn't even splitting them up, as in Dustin & I going on one while Curt & Kaitlyn went on another. Nope. This is all 4 of us going on 48 rides. We were proud. We still are proud. :o)  LOL
We stopped to go to the bathroom only if we passed by one. We ate a quick lunch around 11:30. But at that time we were already almost at our previous record, so we knew we'd pass it for sure. We didn't go on the rides with long lines, like the submarines. For a Sunday, though, holy cow it was not busy at all. Especially early in the morning & later on in the evening.
And of course, I had to stop at all the PhotoPass photographers I saw...which, by the end of the night, everyone was pretty much cursing me out. But hey, they're super awesome memories. And for the whole year of 2013 I'll have a calendar up in my house & at work with these awesome Disneyland pictures. Here are a few...

We ended up at 48, not 50, because the line for the Rockets was taking a while. We could have made 50 if we'd have gone on Buzz Lightyear's ride 2 more times, but by that time (11:55pm) we were pooped. Literally. We knew we'd be hurting units today, & boy is that an understatement. Dustin's only 31 & I'm just 30 but wow we can tell that we're not in our 20's anymore!

Holy cow though it was an absolutely amazingly awesome Disney day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We're finally on vacation!!! Wow it seems like it's taken forever for August 10th to get here...but it's finally here & we're off on our 3 week long vacation. We didn't ever intend for it to be 3 weeks, but that's how it worked out with Dustin & his we get more time than we thought!

We left home the 10th & drove to Yellowstone National Park...only about a 3-4 hour trip for us. Since we found out Brooklyn has to have 2 more surgeries, we decided to camp each night to save money.
Here's Brookie asleep on our way to Yellowstone

We got to Yellowstone, took our time getting to our campsite, set up our tent, then went to Old Faithful. We ate a little dinner first & then quickly went to see it erupt. The girls were wound SO tight after being in the car so dinner didn't go so well!! And neither did waiting for the geyser to erupt. It was supposed to erupt at 5:45pm (give or take 10 mins either way).......6:15pm rolls around & it FINALLY erupts!! Needless to say, the girls were going crazy!!

Here's Cali in the car at Yellowstone...playing with hers & Brooklyn's sunglasses!

Brookie & I waiting for Old Faithful to erupt

Cali & Brooklyn watching Old Faithful...priceless!!

Before we left home I'd been checking the weather to see what kinds of camping equipment we'd need. Well it was supposed to be hot throughout the entire what's the need for sleeping bags?! All I ended up bringing was our air mattresses, a fitted sheet to go over them, a pillow for everyone, & a blanket for everyone. That's it. If it was going to be hot, then what's the need for bringing something that we wouldn't even use?!

HA!!!! Well once we got into Yellowstone & saw that it was only in the 60's & overcast...and RAINING...we quickly regretted our decision to not bring sleeping bags! Let's just say that that first night in Yellowstone is now in my Top 5 Worst Nights Ever. EVER!! It started raining in the afternoon, before we set up our tent. And it never stopped. We set the tent up in the rain, slept in the rain, & took the tent down in the rain. Unfortunately, there was no grass anywhere in sight so we were on dirt. Dirt + water = mud. :(   Our tent was filthy dirty & we were muddy. It got to just above freezing that night...right about 35-36 degrees and let's just say that we were miserable. The girls each had their own twin air mattress, but they were so wound up & excited that we got to sleep in a tent so they weren't laying down to sleep at all. Cali ended up sleeping with me on the queen air mattress & Brooklyn was on one twin with Dustin right next to her on the other twin. A little while later the girls switched so Brooklyn was with me. (Oh and of course, since it was going to be so hot...what's the point in packing warm clothes?! I didn't even have socks for any of us!! Just tank tops & shorts.)

So Cali was shivering the whole night, even with Dustin right there next to her in his arms. She was so cold that even with Cali's blanket & Dustin's blanket, he still crawled with her on one twin mattress, let the air out of the other one, & put it on top of them to keep them warm. Helped...but not 100%. Brooklyn was the only one that slept like a baby...that silly girl got 8 hours of sleep that night! I was in the fetal position with Brooklyn's legs in between my legs to keep her warm. I maybe, MAYBE, got 3 hours of sleep. Dustin thinks he got 1 hour. At 6am Dustin went to the car, turned it on, & slept for a few minutes with the heat blasting on him!! There were people leaving at 4:30am that day...Don't know if it was because they were just ambitious people who wanted to see Yellowstone or if it was cause they were just as miserable as us!

So we finally decided to get about 6:15am, got dressed, packed up our muddy tent, & headed out of the park & down south.

Here are the girls right inside of Utah

The 2nd night we had reservations at the KOA in Beaver, UT. There was NO way I could live through another night like we had in Yellowstone so we were going to go buy sleeping bags. We stopped by a Cabela's but they were way too expensive. Plus, it was just plain HOT around Salt Lake City, so we thought we'd just stop at a Target or WalMart in Beaver if it was getting colder. Well once we got to Beaver we quickly realized that there wasn't a Target or WalMart. It's one small town!! We did find a dollar store & Dustin found 2 wool (ick!) blankets there for $3/each. I hate wool. But putting our own blanket on top of us & then the wool blanket on top of that wasn't too bad. It got in the 50's that night, but we still didn't sleep good. Super cute & nice KOA though...if you're ever travelling through Beaver, UT!

The next AM we got up & were on the road early again. I was joking to Dustin the whole trip that we're living like old people. :o)  We get up around 6am, pack up our tent, & are on the road by lunch about dinner around 4-5pm...& then are in bed asleep by 8-9pm!! We're SO old people!

We got to the Grand Canyon fairly early, which was nice. We drove around, looking at the "big hole", as Cali & Brooklyn called it!

Here's a cute picture...minus Brooklyn looking at Cali!!

Our campground at the Grand Canyon

We didn't have as bad of a night as we did the first night, but this wasn't all that great. But we managed & got up early again, got breakfast, & were on the road.

Leaving the Grand Canyon Monday morning

On our way to LA we stopped in Phoenix to see some nevus friends. Ok wait. These aren't just "nevus friends". These are 2 of my 4 closest nevus mom friends. We don't get to spend a lot of time together but we just "get" each other. So we stopped at Islands for a too-quick lunch with Amie & her husband, Bruce, and Christine & her husband, Adam, & 2 kids Josh & Katie. Josh has 3 expanders in right now & I was excited to show them to Brooklyn so she could get re-aquainted with the bubbles! One of Josh's bubbles is in his back right side & Brooke still says that she's going to have an expander there. LOL

Brooke, Cali, & Katie

After lunch we were off to So Cal. We got in at 8pm & were so happy to see Grandma & Nanny (my grandma & my great-grandma, who live together). The girls were excited to be out of the car, I was excited to be in So Cal, & Dustin was just Dustin!!! ;o)  Now on to a fun-filled 2 weeks of pure bliss.....