Thursday, July 12, 2007

California Dreamin'

If I heard "You're crazy" one more time, I think I would have screamed! OK, so maybe driving to California from BC with a 4-1/2 year-old and a newly potty-trained 3 year-old was a bit ambitious, but you know something crazy? It was great! I'm not saying that I'm a big fan of 22-hour car trips in general, or especially boys who eat beef jerky and are then confined in the same odorous vehicle with me, but Ethan and Jack were fantastic travellers for us. I'm proud to report that we never even needed a DVD player to entertain them on the trip. Yes, we stopped in every public restroom between Los Angeles and White Rock (mental note: never give the boys Jamba Juice before a car trip again), but we travelled the old-fashioned way - with car games, rest stops and crafty back-seat activities. Oh yeah, with GPS, iPod, air conditioning and Starbucks too.

We left early Saturday morning on June 30th, and after navigating through the border, we were soon on our way. We stopped quickly in Birch Bay to pick up the radar detector (a necessity) and for Jack to pee (equally necessary). We had a Car Bingo game started pretty quick, and we handed out maps to the kids to track our progress. Then we started the license plate game and before we knew it, it was lunchtime. Mike was very excited to find a Baja Fresh for our first meal on the road. I think we screamed into the parking lot on two wheels. We had Subway for dinner - the first of many Subway trips - somewhere in Oregon and made it to a Comfort Inn an hour north of Sacramento, CA to stop for the night.

On Sunday, we woke up to our complimentary breakfast and set the GPS to take us to Santa Barbara. (In N Out on the way there - woo hoo!) Two major Jack events marked the day - I will forever have the unerasable image burned into my mind of the poo accident I had to clean up in the hotter-than-Hell public restroom. I am actually too scarred to even describe it, so please just picture the worst and multiply it by 10. The other Jack event was a little voice saying "Hey, what's this?" just before he yanked the door handle open while we were going 140 km/hr down a hill next to a semi. I contorted myself around from the front passenger seat to grab the door behind me but just trying to open the door enough to slam it shut properly with that much wind resistance was a struggle, let me tell you. Needless to say, the child locks are now activated.

Our hotel in Santa Barbara was the one we always stay in - the Best Western Carpinteria. Love it! We arrived around 4 pm, and had enough time to cool off with a swim in the hotel pool before heading down to dinner at an Italian restaurant and a stroll on the beach at sunset.

The boys were very excited because Monday was Disneyland!!! We got to the Disney Hotel in the early afternoon but our room wasn't ready. It was a terrible experience! Mike was off in Guest Services trying to sort everything out, while the boys and I were waiting in the lobby. Jack and Ethan were sitting on the couch watching cartoons when all of a sudden Goofy strolled over and sat between them. Poor Ethan. He was absolutely terrified! So there I was, consoling a quivering blubbering little man, trying to keep an eye on all our bags and spot Jack through the swarm of tourists climbing over our things to get at Goofy. I was worried someone was going to have to pee and then what would I do with all the bags? Then the phone rang and I couldn't see Jack and I was pretty close to panic! When the crowds parted I could see Jack sitting peacefully on Goofy's lap, still watching TV.

We finally got our room (thumbs down on the room), dumped our stuff and got into Disneyland. The boys thought it was great but man, was it hot. We did Teacups and Pirates, Matterhorn and Autopia, Buzz Lightyear and Rockets. The wait for Nemo was 3 hours long so that was a no go. The kids were going strong until about 9 pm. Back at the dingy room, they watched a bedtime Disney story on TV before finally crashing around 10. Mike went to see what Downtown Disney was all about and I ate chocolate.

We got up at 6 am to change rooms and get into Disneyland an hour early (that was a cool benefit of staying there!). Luckily we ate breakfast in line for Finding Nemo, and got to see that ride with only(!) a 40-min wait. Highlights for the kids were Splash Mountain and Pooh's Hunnypots - it was lots of fun. Hot again! We left the park at lunchtime to go eat, make a Costco water run, swim in the pool and recharge. We hit Disney's California Adventure from 4 to 9 pm, and did a little shopping on the way back to the hotel. This room was much nicer, and as a bonus we got to see the special 4th of July fireworks as we walked back. The boys were exhausted and crashed pretty quick!

On the morning of my birthday, we said goodbye to Mickey and the gang and made our way to our next hotel in Santa Monica, stopping for Robek's Juice and a croissant from Champagne's. After stashing our stuff at the Holiday Inn, we got to Dan and Heather's around 2 pm. It was 105 degrees and counting! We wasted no time in immersing ourselves in the pool, where we spent the next 5 hours floating and catching up with Dan, Heather, Wade, Barbara and Julie. The kids got to play with Jackson and Lillie and it was a lot of fun. We BBQ'd for dinner and they served me a gigantic fantastic chocolate birthday cake!

On Thursday Mike went into work, so the boys and I met Tina for coffee and bagels in Manhattan Beach, then met Lisa for lunch at Ruby's. We chilled at the hotel before picking Mike up and meeting Hugh and Meryl for dinner. It was great to see everyone again! It had been 2 years since I'd been back! Friday started out as a laundry day, but we then spent a lot of time on Third Street, at the beach and the playground. I then took the boys to their favourite place - Santa Monica Airport - where we spent 2 hours watching the planes take off and land, having snacks and playing at the park. We got to see Russ and Ruth after work with their son Max (Jack's age), then we went to Yuriy and Renata's to see them and their daughter Natasha. Another late night with an 11:00 bedtime for all of us after checking in to the Marriott in Woodland Hills.

Mike and Dan hit the golf course on Saturday while the boys and I relaxed with Heather and the little Snows. It was perfect, but too hot to take Lillie outside so we stayed in the A/C. Catherine's wedding wasn't until 6 pm so we drove to the hotel to get ready before driving to Simi Valley. The wedding was beautiful! Catherine looked awesome, and the ceremony was short but heartfelt. Johnnie looked good too, and we got to see Catherine's parents again, as well as share the dinner table with Stephanie and Bill, Kyle, Tanner and Kate. That was a lot of fun! Ethan and Kate busied themselves with taking pictures of everyone and everything, and the night ended late again. E would not leave before getting at that wedding cake!

We started our drive home the next morning, and again the kids did great. We just made it into Oregon before finding a hotel, and got home around dinner time Monday night. Ethan and Jack were so jazzed to be home even though they had such a good time while away.

About 15 loads of laundry and 3 rounds of bug-scrubbing-off-the-bumper later, we are back in the swing of things, having returned to an uncharacteristic BC heat wave! Many more summer adventures await!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Fabulous blog! I will be looking out for those weekly updates and hounding you as you have been so kind to do for me. :-)