Thursday, October 27, 2011

Adventures after Disneyland

If you’re driving all the way to CA, you can’t just go to Disneyland for three days and come home. Okay, you might be able to, but I can’t. There’s an ocean over there, not to mention awesome friends that have moved to CA that need to be visited once in awhile. So, after spending three days at Disneyland (we do have our priorities straight), we spent a day doing “nothing” which means we get to relax. We certainly do stuff but we’re not necessarily on a time schedule. For example, I napped for several hours, trying to recover from walking for three days straight so Matt and my younger boys went down to the pool for a couple hours. That was all they wanted to do that day.

Matt and I had decided we wanted to take the kids to dinner on the pier. Matt looked up the beach towns and found one that’s very public friendly and not the party crowds. Huntington Beach has a Ruby’s Diner out on the edge of the pier over the ocean! SO cool. I wanted to see the sunset over the ocean, so we combined the two. The kids came back from the pool and I had them change into their regular clothes and we all hopped into the van to head to the beach!

We got there and decided to let the kids play in the sand while we watched the sun set. Of course this turned into, “Can I get my feet wet in the ocean.” And then next thing I know, all three of my boys are soaked up to the top of their legs. What was I thinking? “Okay kids, change out of your bathing suits so we can go to the beach and swim in our jeans!” To make matters worse, I hadn’t brought any sand toys or towels. Obviously I’m not well practiced at planning an outing to the beach. In my defense Matt told the kids, “There are six brains among us. She does not have to be the only one to use her brain to realize we need bathing suits and towels.”

The sunset was absolutely pathetic. heavy sigh I was hoping that between the fog and the smog the sunset would be absolutely gorgeous. The fog was very thick out on the ocean, so as the sun went down, it got completely eaten by the fog with no color to light up the rest of the sky. Seriously? Well yes, after all, since I was not prepared to be on the beach, apparently mother nature hadn’t planned to entertain me. We finally got the kids out of the water and walked down the pier to the Diner with three of us dripping wet. I’m surprised they even let us in, but I guess they’ve seen this before. If not, then I’m the only one that has ever brought her family to the beach unprepared.

Anyway, the food was typical diner food, the service was great until we got our food. Then suddenly the place was packed and we didn’t see our server again for ages and had to hunt him down to get refills on drinks, fries, and the check. Ummm, no refills on the check please!

We had planned to spend Friday evening with friends but needed to check out of the resort by noon. We had a few hours to kill (or so we thought) and since the kids had such a good time at the beach we decided to go back. This time we put the kids in their bathing suits and brought towels. Hurray! This time I drove to the beach. We were at the stoplight waiting for a protected left green light when some pedestrians were crossing in front of us. I started hollering at the kids, “Look at that guy, he’s got a shark in a bucket! Look, right there! Do you see him? And that guy has two sharks in his bucket and he can hardly cross the street!” It was one of the oddest sights I’ve ever seen apparently they were fishermen (they had fishing poles, that was the dead give away) and they had already gutted the sharks. They had a look of embarrassed excitement on their faces as they could hardly get those sharks across the street. By the way, these sharks were the ones that have a saw for a nose that’s about four feet long. I seriously wish I would have gotten out of my car and taken a picture of those guys.

Okay, back to our visit to the beach. Elijah’s all excited to get in the ocean and asks, “Is it all chlorinated like the pool?” That’s a big deal at home because Zack and Sara have serious issues with the chlorine affecting their eyes. I thought it was a very funny comment. Matt and I noticed a farmer’s market going on in the parking lot and sent the kids to play in the sand for a few minutes. We bought amazing plums that were larger than your average apple and so juicy! I bought a dragon fruit to try for the first time, and we also bought a photo on canvas of a beautiful sunset on Huntington Beach. That was the sunset I wanted to see. But since I had been to the beach and seen the sunset, I felt like it was a good alternative to the pathetic sunset I saw. Matt and I chipped in our fun money to pay the lady the $45 she was charging and we were very excited to have bought a piece of artwork!

Back on the beach the boys were getting antsy to get into the water. For one hour the boys played in the ocean and battled the waves. Sara sat under and umbrella and read her novel. Matt played in the sand and I wandered between everyone making sure everyone was okay. It was about 65 degrees on the beach, which was wonderful unless you’d been in the ocean. Elijah commented that he wished it was in the middle of the summer and also said, “At the pool you get used to the temperature of the water, but here, you don’t get used to it,” as he stood on the beach sopping wet and shivering.

The time arrived in which we needed to dry off and head towards Bakersfield to a town called Lehiccup, no, Techoo, no, Tehechapi. UGH, I’m really not sure if that’s right. It’s up in the mountains outside of Bakersfield. Anyway, we were headed there to visit my High School friend, Kristin! I haven’t kept in touch with anyone from High School. The interesting thing is that we didn’t go to the same school, but we were in the same ward. So we spent as much time together at church and YW activities and occasionally got together for more fun when possible.

In planning our drive to Tehechapi, we did not take into account that there would be traffic. The GPS said it would take us 3 hours to get there, so that is what we had planned. We got stuck in rush hour traffic for not only L.A., but every other city between L.A., and Tehechapi, adding an hour to our trip. UGH. We’d just get through a major slowdown and get going the speed limit and Matt would say something about being excited that it’s clear sailing from here on out. I told him, “Shhh!” and then around the next corner we’d be at a stand still again. About the third time this happened, Matt said, “Nobody’s ever heard of a traffic jam in the Mojave Desert.” And then around the corner we were at a stand still again. Yes folks, that is because people LIVE in the Mojave Desert. That’s pretty crazy if you ask me.

We stayed the night with Kristin and Todd’s family and had such a good time. Her six kids range from 9 years old down to 2 years old, with a set of twins in there. My teenagers were a bit bored, but my younger boys had such a good time! After joking and laughing for hours, we finally got some sleep. We had delicious pumpkin muffins for breakfast, as well as eggs and sausage. YUM! Then after getting everyone dressed for the day, we packed up what little we’d brought in and left to visit more friends.

Next stop, the Granados family. Now some of you readers happen to know the Granados family! They haven’t changed a bit, except that Jory is 6’2” and the other three kids have grown like crazy as well. Rumor has it that’s what happens when you feed your kids healthy food. Timi has lost a bunch of weight to relieve complications from some serious health problems. She looks great! After visiting for about an hour, we decided to leave the kids at the house and we went on a double date to lunch at their favorite Mexican restaurant. Timi and I both had fajitas and their salsa was delicious! I could eat that stuff all day long. The guys had Mexican food, too. LOL! Oh, right. Matt got his usual favorite, Carne Asada Burrito smothered in Chili Verde. I don’t remember what Nash ate.

As part of our date, we went Walmart hopping. The day before when checking out of the resort, the battery died. A guy that worked at the resort had the nerve to tell me, “I guess you’ll have to call AAA road side assistance.” The thought that went through my head was, “You’re not in Utah anymore, Christy.” I begged the retired couple behind us to help with a jump start. Luckily I carry jumper cables with me. He didn’t even know where his battery was in the engine. Phfftt. To own a sports car. I may never know what that’s like. The van barely started that morning when leaving Kristin’s so we decided to buy a new battery. heavy sigh Well, the first Walmart we went to didn’t have many batteries on the shelf. We headed to another Walmart. This one did have the battery we needed! The cool thing about buying Walmart batteries and the habits our kids have of leaving a light on in the van is that the battery has a 3 year warranty. Without the receipt, the sticker on the battery shows that we bought it two years ago. Woohoo! All I had to pay for the new battery was the core charge fee of $10. I shouldn’t have had to pay that, but they couldn’t figure out how to delete the charge. I’m not complaining!

After finally getting the battery back home and into the van, we decided to take both family’s out for ice cream at DaddyO’s! This is one of those places where you fill your own cup, then dump how ever much topping on top you could possibly want. Then…you pay by weight. This was a particularly fun activity since Timi and I used to go out for ice cream when one of us was having a particularly bad day. Wow, I just used “particularly” twice in one sentence. Anyway, due to dairy issues, Timi and I both resorted to sorbet, but it was yummy and a good time was had by all.

It was time to hit the road and come home. The day before, Matt and I discussed the difficulty of driving all the way home after spending so much of the day visiting with friends. We decided it would be helpful to stop in Las Vegas for the night instead of driving straight through. Luckily the nice man on the other end of the phone found us a room after someone cancelled so that we’d have a place to stay. Hurray! Another resort! We love those places. This one has three pools and about a dozen buildings as part of the resort and they were booked solid. Crazy. The weather was unseasonably nice so we let the kids play in the pool before hitting the road again the next morning. We milked it for all it was worth and checked out right at noon.

Of course by then the kids were hungry. Feeling tapped out financially, we weighed our options and decided to eat at a Del Taco just up the road. I was so excited! We got six tacos, six bean burritos, and 4 little cheesecake tasters for $12. Wow! That’s the cheapest meal we’ve eaten out in ages. Each person ate a taco and a bean and cheese burrito. Then I started to have second thoughts about this decision of a cheap lunch stock full of beans. We would be in the car for probably seven hours; in close quarters with fully digested beans. To make matters worse, we hit UEA traffic driving through Utah! Then there was an accident in Spanish Fork and we crept along the highway for quite awhile until we passed it. Yes, those beans did come back to haunt us. Enough said. My travel tip to you, eat more tacos, not burritos if Del Taco is your meal of choice during a road trip.

After walking for three days straight and sleeping in beds that were not my own, doing laundry in tiny loads at the resort and trying to be frugal while having a good time, I was so very grateful to be home and sleep in my own bed again! That is until reality hit at 5am when the alarm went off. Time to cook for the kids and get Sara out the door to early morning seminary. So much fun.

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