Car Tripping

Our motel in San Simeon was right off of highway 1 which was most important. Unfortunately we were met with loud upstairs neighbors. I am not sure if it was children, dogs or grown men but they weren’t sleeping when the rest of us were hoping to. When the noise finally calmed down we were able to get some sleep. The next morning we grabbed a to-go bag of breakfast items from the front desk and then we hit the black tar, not that kind, jeez.

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While this guy pondered his next to-go meal, we headed ten miles north to the vista point to see some elephant seals.

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We planned on being in the car for most of the day so we hoped for the best {open restrooms and photo ops} when we did pull off of the highway.

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We crossed the famous Big Little Lies bridge however the photo cred goes to my brother, I just stole it for the blog.

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Once we hit Carmel by the Sea, we parked for some browsing and wine tasting. We lucked out with Manzoni Cellars. Winery tasting rooms were told minutes before we arrived that they were closing all indoor operations again. This place had two tables outside, luckily. The wine was good and we left with a bottle of Syrah.

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Ready for lunch aka clam chowder, we continued north to Monterey.

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The place we really wanted to eat at had a long wait so we stumbled into the nearest place and ate a mediocre lunch. The weather wasn’t quite warm enough to stay and walk around outside so we decided to continue our drive up the coast heading for the Golden Gate Bridge.

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We left the cooler weather behind and drove into Sonoma. I called a local pizza place at the square and we picked up our dinner before hitting the hotel. It was a long day in the car so we were ready for a good nights sleep, we had wine tasting to do the next day.

Thanksgiving and Homebound

We had a very nice and low key holiday. I don’t know why I say “low key” because there were 17 of us but since the kids were so entertained it felt, well calm.

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The girls had so much fun with their cousins, it’s too bad we don’t live closer.

No one went hungry. We had Brie en croute and plenty of snacks,  ham, turkey, all the side dishes and a plethora of desserts which I couldn’t even manage to eat until late that night.

I didn’t take any food pictures which is very odd and I have no excuses.

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We  woke up way too early the next morning to hit the road, home bound. We drove from 6:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night, went through five states and saw much of nothing but the girls did amazingly well considering. A good book doesn’t hurt either.

imageWe stopped for the night in Bishop, Ca. Luckily there was a Holiday Inn express with one room left that suited our needs. Once we were checked in we headed to a small Italian place for a decent pizza and then to bed so we could do it all over again But since we went so far the first day, the second day was much shorter. We pulled into San Diego by lunchtime.

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Disneyland Day 2

I hope you didn’t think I abandoned you. Day 2 is a long one so tuck in with some coffee, wine, burritos…whatever you love.

I can’t tell you who woke up first, probably me but it was early per usual. This was our “magic” morning at Disneyland and we HAD to be in line by 7:45. Turns out they actually let guests into the park at 7:45 but you don’t get passed Main street until 8:00 and that is because all of the United States is behind you, it’s got to be a semi fair game….I guess?

All Kaili was asking for was the Dumbo ride and since we didn’t get that done day one, this was my first stop. I took both the girls and they loved it. We hopped over to another ride because it was pretty empty. Turns out the Alice in Wonderland ride was a tad scary, Averi wasn’t sure about it and Kaili asked immediately when we would be done but they weren’t crying so we were good.

The one thing we did want to do during that “magic” hour was the Nemo Submarine ride.

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Averi pretty much loved it between her bouts of concern.

We then headed to an adult ride. Thunder mountain requires riders to be 40′, Kaili is 39′. We were told by some other parents in line that they are sticklers when it comes to height and we would later find out that was true. So even though Kaili insisted Grandpa stretched her out and she was tall enough, I took the girls for a stroll  while the rest of them could have a go.

Us girls ventured over to Tarzan’s tree house, Kaili skipped up while I dragged Averi with me.

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Having just  watched Tarzan the day before,  Kaili had her eye out for that Leopard who may  was lurking in the tree tops.

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We wandered our way through Tomorrowland and it was out.of.control.

And as  early as it was, it was just a preview of what was to come.

Kaili wanted to go on a ride in Tomorrowland so we waited 45 minutes for another ride that goes around in circles, much like the Dumbo ride. I’m pretty sure we need to bring back the merry go rounds to our playgrounds so we can forgo this boring children  ride people pay thousands of dollars for.

We made our way over to California Adventure and it was a tad overwhelming. I felt like we had done so much already, I couldn’t wrap my head around what was left to do…but there was a lot. Luckily Mickey was one of the first things  we saw heading into CA so that took some pressure off.

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We also ran into Doc McStuffin’s and now they are besties.

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After a few kiddy rides in Bugs Life….

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Food was on our mind. We grabbed some pretty good clam chowder and not so great Mexican over by Paradise Pier, beer is always good.

Our hotel room looks over CA land so the Mickey ferris wheel is a fixture you can’t hide from even the littles. Kaili begged to go on and once everyone agreed,  we payed our dues in line, but the ride was SO worth it…although Shane will disagree.

IMG_8499 We got the rocking car because there was no way standing in line with two kids for a boring ride is a good idea. It turns out that rocking car is a thrill ride for Kaili and Grandpa! Averi was in tears with her head in my lap.

We dragged the tired kids, but not Kaili because she is never tired, back to the hotel. Averi went down for a nap and grandma rested along side her while Shane and I took Kaili to the pool.

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Our early bird dinner reservations were approaching, we packed up the crew and headed out to the Rainforest Cafe. It wasn’t my top pick but I thought it would be perfect to help keep the overtired kids entertained. I was wrong. The place is a joke but it’s hard to compete with a tired Averi. To sum it up, my food wasn’t good, service wasn’t good and my kid wasn’t good.

After overpaying for shitty food, we confidently headed back out to CA land to take on what we hadn’t yet mastered. In other words, we got a fast pass to Tower of Terror and Cars, Radiator Springs.

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Unfortunately, the Cars ride had a 40′ height restriction. We didn’t bother to put Kaili through the ringer but I think we both regret not trying. She would have LOVED that one!

Gramps and I were the only ones that went on Tower of Terror…”because food”  meaning no-one else wanted to ride that because they just ate. But it’s the best ride there.

After grabbing a churro we went back to the hotel to watch the light show from our hotel room. We fell asleep one by one, grandpa and Ave’s weren’t far apart.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Getaway

The week before Christmas we took advantage of some of Shane’s Hilton points and booked a hotel in Santa Monica. We stayed just a few blocks from the pier and near all the shopping and restaurants which we didn’t take much advantage of…because kids.

We started off by stopping in Venice for lunch and a walk along the canals, something I have never done. If I could give up a backyard I would love to live in Venice, some of those houses are amazing. After our first stroll down one of the canals we passed Maura Tierney. (actress in The Affair, one my favorite shows)

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We spent the rest of the day walking around Santa Monica, ending at the Pier for an ice cream and a glass of wine but the cold weather and a cranky toddler drove us back the hotel before dinner.We couldn’t bring ourselves to try and go out for dinner with the kids on a Friday night so we ordered room service and hung out in our room.

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We all slept in the same room which wasn’t too terrible but Averi is a very noisy sleeper and she did a lot of whining in her sleep which kept me awake and eventually woke up Kaili before the sun. After breakfast we went to the LA farmers market. Full from breakfast we were so bummed we couldn’t try all the amazing food, lesson learned. We browsed all the booths and stores, stopping for espresso and hot chocolate. I couldn’t leave without trying a beignet, warm and delicious, I really was regretting breakfast.

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I thought Kaili might combust if we didn’t get her down the the Pier fast enough, she had been talking about it since she woke up. She got to go on all the kiddy rides and then three adult rides with me. After the little rides weren’t doing it for her anymore she told me she wanted to go on the Dragon swing. This wasn’t a small  swing either, this was the real deal. I was always a fan of scary rides but this one ride always scared me because you aren’t strapped in and I always lifted out of my seat a bit. So when she said she wanted to go on it, I hesitated and then asked her repeatedly while in line if she was sure…She was. We sat in the middle row to be on the safe side but it probably didn’t matter if we were on the very end, she had the biggest smile even when I was a little freaked out. The girl needs to get taller so she can go on all of the rides.

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As the kids were dining on corn dogs the clouds rolled in and it started to pour. We took cover in the aquarium under the pier but after 30 minutes we were all ready to move on. With the rain still dropping and our hotel a few blocks away we decided to eat at the tourist trap Bubba Gumps, hoping by the time we were done it would be clear to walk back.

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The food wasn’t too bad and the atmosphere was noisy enough to drown out our kids so it worked out well. On our way back to the hotel the rain picked up and we ran the rest of the way arriving completely wet and ready for warm baths.

After a better nights sleep, we headed home after breakfast making it just in time to start the Seahawks game. Kaili has been asking to go back to Santa Monica so I say it was a win of a weekend.