Jeremy and Olivia had been passing around a cold for the past week and a half, before we left. My hopes were that I would not catch it, or if I did I would catch it early and be over it by the time we left. Well of course I catch the day before we leave. That night we were double checking the drive time, and the once 5.5 hour drive to crater lake, had turned into a 7 + hour drive because of the snow they were having. So instead of leaving around 7am, we decided to leave at 5am the next morning.
Wednesday (the first day) our alarm was set of 4am and of course I wake up a 3:30, and didn't see any point of going back to sleep. Our drive is peaceful and normal until 10 miles outside of Porland, and we hit some heavy traffic. From there it was smooth sailing until we hit the mountain roads. There was snow everywhere. It took us even longer the get to Crater Lake because of the snow. A lot of the roads were closed and we had to take the long way around the mountain. I myself was very excited to see the snow, Jeremy was nervous (he was the one driving), and wondering if we should have put snow chains on our mini van. Once we finally made it, the snow was coming down, and you couldn't see the lake at all. We still had fun at the visitors center, and the kids loved playing in the snow. When we finally made it to the hotel it was a wonderful feeling.
What surprised me about our driving thursday (which was our second day), was that we still had to do some mountain driving. By this time, my head cold was at it's peek, and the popping of my ears (because of the altitude) didn't help.
We were heading to San Francisco that day, and I was super excited, because I had aways wanted to visit that city, for two reasons. One Alcatraz, and two, that Mythbusters lived there (not that me going there would mean that I would get to meet them). We gave ourselves plenty of time to drive just in case of traffic. We had pre-paid for tickets for Alcatraz online, and couldn't under and circumstances be late (or so said the tickets). We ended up getting there really early, which was fine in the end, because we just walked around the city a bit. There were a lot of people there, in the city and taking the tour for Alcatraz. The island was great, but really hilly. You have to climb a steep hill to get up to the cell block. The view from the island was wonderful, and I really enjoyed myself, and I was glad that we plained this crazy trip.
Our hotel that night was super nice. One of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in. I booked all of the hotels on Expedia, so I really had no idea how they really looked. I was most concerned with price and weather the rooms were big enough for all of us.There were fountains and waterfalls in the lobby with koi fish in them. It was the Embassy Suites in San Rafael. After dinner we took over the indoor pool (thats what you do when you have a family of 6, even when you don't mean to). We ended up playing tag in the water. That was so much fun. I noticed that night that I had some sunburn on my face. :( I guess I should have put on sunblock.
That night was a nightmare. I had a hard time sleeping because of it being a strange place, and because of my cold. I didn't sleep much at all, and I was making up for it here and there during the drive the next morning.
That dive was also no walk in the park. We hit a lot of traffic. First there was Oakland and then their was LA. I really felt bad for Jeremy. A 7.5 hour drive turn into 9 hours thanks to traffic in verious places.
When we finally made it to San Diego, it was exciting. Our hotel was in Mission Valley, which I was excited about, because I feel it's a great part of the city to be in. Our room had a view of the highway, which really isn't ideal, but I'm one of those people who likes highway noise, so it worked out. That night we got dinner at Pick Up Stix in Murphy Canon, our old stomping ground. Just being there made me wish we could move back there again.
Saturday, was wonderful. We met up with our old friends Jessica and Justin with their 4 daughters. I'm not kidding it was us 4 adults with the 8 kids. We were a sight. We meet up at 10, and walked through the creation museum in Santee. Olivia was so excited to see other girls, and would say every so often, "Look it's girls! Hey girls." It was so cute. We next went out to lunch. Yes all of us, in a sit down place if you can believe it. We went to Mimi's, also in Santee. This is when I noticed that the kids had all paired off. Darien was sitting next to and chatting non stop with Claire. Zachary had become fast friends with Veronica. Nathaniel and Rachel were two peas in a pod, they even ordered the same thing, and giggled about it, and Olivia was attached to Zoe. I'm glad Zoe didn't mind, and actually enjoyed the extra attention. Lunch was great, the food was okay (well on my end, I know my husband loved what he got), but the company and conversation was awesome. I enjoyed myself despite the fact that I couldn't really talk. My bad cold had turned into a bad cough, and my vocal cords were swollen at this point, and I sounded like a chain smoker. Were all big nerds, so yeah like I said, awesome conversation.
Next we went to Balboa park. It's one of my most favorite places in the world. The all of us hung out at the play ground for a while, for the kids of course. Jeremy had his camera and took some awesome pictures. The kids were having so much fun, and that really made my day right there. We next walked over to the fountains. The last time I was in San Diego, I had Justin take pictures of Jess and me at and in the fountains, so of course we had to do it again.
We go some of the kids too...
That night we ordered in pizza, and I finally got a full nights sleep. My cold had finally let up a little, and I feel asleep while everyone was watch tv.
Sunday was the San Diego Zoo. To Olivia's great disappointment the Samuels (the friends who we visited with the day before) weren't going to be joining us. She didn't find this out however until we were in the parking lot for the Zoo. She hopped out of the van and looked from side to side, then asked "Where are the girls? My girls?" Yes my heart broke all over again. Once we were in the park, we checked out the reptile room first, Olivia loves snakes. We then took the sky tram up to the polar bear exhibit. Darien was nervous about the tram at first, but once it was over, he said that he rather ride that all day. His logic was that when you are on the tram, you still get to see the animals, and great views of the city, and the big plus is you don't have to walk. San Diego is a hilly city, and the Zoo so no exception, so walking it in some parts can be a real workout. Luckily there are a lot of different ways to get around if you get tired. They have the bus tour which goes around the outer rim of the zoo, and starts and ends near the entrance. They have the Kangaroo busses that you can hop on and off at various places in the park, and the sky tram. We were dead tired and left the zoo a little after 1pm. We got some lunch then went to the Cabrillo National Monument. I love the views of the city from the monument.
I have been praying for some time now, that we would get sent back there. I love San Diego, and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. It may be a far fetched idea that we would get transferred anytime soon, but I'm going to keep praying for it.
Monday was Seaworld. We were given 4 tickets for free because of my husbands wonderful service to our country, and I was more than greatful for that, but little did I know that we would be given another wonderful gift not to long after entering the park. We were on our way to the Atlantis ride, when a cast member stops us. She asks us where we are from, the if we knew that the San Diego Seaworld was celebrating 50 years. Since it is a big celebration, they are giving out free gifts to random families. Yes we were just in the right place at the right time. She gave us free meal vulters. So yes not only did we get 4 of us into the park for free, but we also ate for free, both lunch and dinner. I was of course blown away.
As far a weather goes there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Sunblock was a must and even with SPF 50 it didn't seem like enough. Seaworld has little shade, so we were feeling it by the time we got back to the hotel. We saw 2 of the 4 shows, we had fun on the rids, and we saw a lot of awesome animals. Olivia's favorite were the pigeons. She could have stayed there all day, and that would have been fine. I like the Walrus myself... see
Look it's Jamie Hyneman...
If you are a fan of the Mythbusters you'll get it.
Zachary loved the new Mania Ray. Jeremy and I both agree that it was an awesome coaster.
We loved the Blue Horizons show, but thought the One Ocean show (the Shamu one), was a bit of a disappointment. You could tell, the whale were not willing to listen, and the trainer were a bit frustrated with them, but still carrying on.
Olivia fell asleep on the ride back to the hotel. Yup the 5 minute ride was just to much for her. While she slept Jeremy took the boys down to the pool, and I packed our room up a bit. After swimming and Olivia's cat nap we went to the mall and got ice cream. We were sitting outside (mission valley mall is an outdoor mall), and Olivia says out of the blue. "I love San Diego. I have a lot of fun in San Diego." This was our last day in that wonderful city. Yes it's was a little sad. Beside that though, I felt like at this point I had already had a great vacation, and it wasn't over yet.
Tuesday... Our first day in Disneyland... I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. The park was very crowed that day, we'll start with that. I'm not sure why, it was late April, and school wasn't out yet. The other bad thing was a third of the rides where closed... good rides like Pirates and jungle cruse. The rides that were actually open kept breaking down, and had extremely long lines. At one point Jeremy actually said "I hate Disneyland!" This coming from a guy who is one of Disney's biggest fans. I do feel bad complaining about it, since we had such a lovely time at seaworld, and the reality is, you really can't always have a good time. We had a great vacation, and I didn't want to let this one day ruin it for me. So out of the few rides we did get to ride Olivia liked Winnie The Pooh, Splash Mountain, and the Buzz Lightyear Blaster one. She was scared and clinging to Jeremy during Haunted Mansion (despite the fact that she rode it last year and loved it) and the Rodger Rabbit ride in Toon Town. The Rodger Rabbit ride... yeah about that one... We saw that the line was 35 mins long, but decided to stand in it anyways. It was hot and the line was inside (I think our logic was sound). We stand in the line slowly making our way to the front, and we are almost there when the ride breaks down. YUP... We kept our spot in line though, because like I said it was hot out, and the park was packed, so why go back out there. They had it fixed in about 15 mins, and we did finally get to ride. We when back to the hotel around 4, played in the pool, and ordered pizza.
The next day at Disney was much better. We when to the California adventure park. It was less crowed, and more of the rides were working. They did have a few closed due to the winds. The Stanta Anas were blowing really hard that day. We did get to ride Soarin, the big ferris wheel, and the Triton Carousel as a family. Jeremy and Zachary went on California screaming, I took Zachary on the Town of Terror (Zach likes trill rides more than our other boys), and Jeremy took the boys on the Goofy coaster. The new Cars ride had a 60+ wait on it all day, so no we didn't ride that. On our way out we stopped by Down Town Disney. We got some dinner, and let the kids build a bear.
I got so much sleep that night. I fell asleep at 8:30 and woke up at 6:15, yes I must have been really tried from everything that we did that day.
The Last day, we went back to Magic Kingdom. Olivia and I went around to different characters and Jeremy and the boys rode the rides that didn't have to big of lines. This day went better than the first day at Disney, but not a good as the second. The lines to see the princesses (which is Olivia's favorite part), were crazy long, especially the line for Anna and Elsa which was 4 hours long. Needless to say, we didn't stand in that one.
I'm so glad we got to go on this vacation. It's something I will never forget. I hope and pray that someday I'll live in San Diego again, so I can hang out with the Samuels on a regular basis.
Here are our links to our vacation videos :)
Crater Lake and San Fran