Saturday, November 10, 2007

What I did on my Summer Vacation-By Patti Harvey

Better late than never, but I thought I'd share some pictures from our trip to California this summer. We started out on August 2. We got up at 2am (!) to get to the airport on time. We flew Sun Country airlines which was a nice way to go. I just wish they flew to the places I really wanted to get to more often (like Memphis or Salt Lake). The flight went fine. We were all seated together, and most of us were able to sleep part of the time.

The rental car was a pain though. We had a reservation for a Suburban, but it was taking FOREVER for them to get it cleaned. Finally, they come and say that the A/C just isn't working right but they do have an 8 passenger Durango. Fine. Ooops-its a 7-passenger vehicle. I had overheard another agent telling someone else that one of the only vehicles left was a 12-passenger van. So, I asked about it. We got it, and at half the rate we were going to pay just because they had made us wait so long. Not bad.

So, we drive to Torrance. I found our old house and the schools first and then we headed to our hotel. Ooops, too early before check in time, so we go to Bob's Big Boy for lunch and then go shopping at Del Amo mall.

We got back to the hotel and get our rooms and discover they are both smoking rooms. We can't do THAT, so we let them know, and we wait and wait and wait. Finally, the guy figures something out and we get two rooms---just not next door to each other. We had John, Alisha, Emily and Michael in the downstairs room by the pool, and then Sarah, Daniel, Richard & I were upstairs in the 'suite' with 'kitchenette'. This 'kitchenette' was a converted bathroom. The stove was just 2 electric burners, and there were no dishes, so if we wanted to cook anything, we would have had to buy pots. But there was plenty of counter space and a mini fridge.

We played in the pool for a while, but it was quite breezy, and the kids got cold, so we came in. We ordered pizza for diner.

August 3, we woke up and went on a driving tour. We went to Olvera Street. The kids had fun wandering in the shops. Of course, we got taquitos for lunch. Either my tastebuds have changed or they just aren't as hot as they used to be....they didn't even make my nose run!

After lunch we took a drive up Santa Monica Boulevard-driving through Beverly Hills until we finally reached the L.A. Temple where we were married over 18 years ago. We took pictures of the whole family there, but the digital camera was out of battery, so we were using a film camera, and that is the one camera of all the ones we took on the trip where none of the pictures turned out. AUGH!

When we got back, the kids went swimming and I got dressed to go to my reunion. I already told about that in my last post.

It was a very fun evening, though I learned not to get the cutest shoes for the event because I ended up barefoot the whole evening because my feet blistered up! I did win the prize for most kids again.

Saturday-the 4th

For lunch we went to my cousin Karen's house. She recently moved to Torrance. It was good to see her. The kids all had fun as she had a well stocked toy/game closet and the largest Manga library that my kids have ever seen. It was nice to get to know her some more, as there is about 8 years difference between us, and we didn't really play together when we were kids.

For dinner we went to my friend Maria's mom's house-where we hung out as teenagers, and we had a get together there with the gutter gang. Maria had her son there, so Sarah and Daniel had someone to run around with. The rest of them played in the game room--pool, pinball, etc. Mark, Ray, Allen, Maria, Shawna, Charlie, and Jen were there. Some alone, and some with spouses... It was good to see you all again.

We left early because the kids were dying to get to the beach.

Getting there at 7:30 or so, it was fairly empty and the kids just played in the sand and went wading until it got dark. They discovered that the sand at the beach is the best in the world to build sandcastles with. Unfortunately, all our sandcastle pictures were also on the camera that didnt' make it.

Aug 5 was Sunday. We went to Torrance II ward for church. Saw lots of people there, though the ward is really shrinking fast. Not very many youth at all. I made a lot of 'older' people feel really old when I said I was in town for my 20th reunion! Sister Walker, Sister Fritcher, Sister Grover, the Govers, the Ruths & Slaters & Justices all say hi and send their love.

Monday morning we checked out of our hotel and drove to Anaheim and checked into our new hotel. To early to check in, but we had our tickets, so we hopped on the shuttle to Disneyland.

We had bought cell phones for John and Alisha, so we had 4 phones among the 8 of us. That was really nice. We could split up, and be able to find each other later. We got '1st time Visit' buttons for the kids to wear on their lanyards and the employees gave them extra special attention. Sarah even got picked to pull the sword from the stone by Merlin! We did Fantasyland, got lunch, watched the parade and went back to our hotel to officially check in. It was about a 1000% improvement on the last place we had been in. THIS was a kitchenette, with dishes and dishwasher and table, even... :-) Richard & I had one room with King sized bed--very comfortable- The four older ones had the room with the two double beds, and Sarah and Daniel shared the hide-a-bed in the 'living room'. We had 2 bathrooms as well.

We got unpacked, and went back to the park where we stayed until closing.

Tuesday morning we got to the park about 10:00. We got Emily a button saying it was her birthday since her birthday was that week, and the employees(oops, cast members) wished her happy birthday all day long.

We went and did the Pirates ride--my kids are big fans of the movies and it always was one of my favorite rides as a kid, so we were very excited to see Jack Sparrow in the ride...

For lunch that day, we went to Ariel's Grotto where we had a Princess Character lunch. Sarah was in heaven! And for Emily's birthday, they sang to her and brought her a special dish of ice cream with a candle.

Richard, Michael, Emily & Sarah went back to the hotel, and the rest of us spent some time exploring CA Adventure. We picked up fastpasses for California Screaming and Daniel got to meet Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars. Then we went back too. We tried out the swimming pool at the hotel. Honestly, we couldn't have had nicer weather the whole time we were there. Apparently, the week after we were there, it got up into the 100s and was miserable, but we had low 80s and low humidity, and sun. It was just lovely.

After resting Richard, Alisha, Michael and I went back to the park while the rest stayed in the hotel. We did the California Screamin' ride, Malibu Boomer and the Hollywood Tower of Terror. We finished with that just in time for the Electrical Parade and we watched the fireworks while waiting for the shuttle to take us to the hotel.

First thing we did on the 8th was Toontown. During this trip, I managed to do Small World 3 times, with different groups each time. We did Splash Mountain, Pooh Bear, the Matterhorn twice, Space Mountain, Autopia, and Innoventions that day.
Our hotel had dinner for us that night--bbq hotdogs and hamburgers & we went swimming before we all went back to do our last rides--the Haunted Mansion--we got out just in time to see Fantasmic and then the fireworks. We had a pretty good view.--then Richard, Michael and John did Indiana Jones (the one ride in the park Daniel was too short for) and the rest of us did Pirates again. Bye Bye Disneyland. We had a great time.
We got back to the hotel about 12:30, and then got up at 4:30 to get to the airport to catch our plane home.

The 9th was offically Emily's birthday. We got home around 4:30. I ran to pick up some peaches that I had ordered that had arrived. We watched High School Musical that night for her birthday. We had her cake on the 10th.
I got to spend the next few days taking care of the peaches, beans and blackberries, cucumbers and squash that had all ripened while we were gone.

And that's what I did on my summer vacation