Saturday, July 31, 2010

Just like that

Just like that, we're home. If you want to see a really consistent journal of the trip, see Will's blog. He's really good at it.

I'm glad to be home, but I never really got homesick. It's good to be in one place, and enjoy the peace of not moving. We had a great time on our five-legged trip: The DeHarts, The Cox's, Santa Rosa, Yosemite, and Flagstaff. We visited Disneyland, The Korbel Champagne winery, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and one of our favorites, Slide Rock Park in Arizona.

This was our third visit to Slide Rock Park and I had the best time I've ever had. The rocks are covered with a tiny algae so they are very slippery. The first time we went we didn't have water shoes so we continually slipped. Not fun. The second time, the water was numbing and I had flip flops that kind of worked. This time we all got water shoes. Also, the kids were old enough to take care of themselves, which I realized was a huge factor in my enjoyment of the place. Imagine carrying a toddler and trying not to slip in the current! No wonder I didn't have fun! This time the water wasn't so cold, I wasn't slipping, and no one was scared. Wow. I got to do some water slides myself, and loved swimming in the deeper areas. I felt a personal victory in the fun.

We had a great time connecting with a majority of our family; we got good family photos with both the DeHart and Cox families. Something new for our wall.

The kids had countless new experiences. Sam went on his first rollercoaster (Space Mountain) and loved it. He proceeded on to Matterhorn and Thunder Mountain. The kids were just the right age to really take it all in and enjoy the trip. What a blessing!

Monday, July 05, 2010

On the Road Again

We're four days into our month in California, and each day has been eventful. The kids are getting to have lots of new experiences. Or, at least Sam is. The girls are remembering things. Days one and two were all about the drive, and we pulled into Whitter at 4:30pm on Saturday. The thing I forget about is how green and beachy Whittier is. Where you live there, you get used to the smell. But coming from Texas, and through the desert, the smell of the sea is so noticeable as soon as you get over the mountains from the Mojave desert.

We had a nice time with mom and dad, and went with them to Granada on Sunday morning. I loved getting to talk to Grandpa with his Cochlear implant for the first time. What a difference! Dad took us to lunch at El Pollo Loco after church and we stuffed ourselves on the special El Pollo Loco marinated chicken. And Horchata, which I miss. You can see dad and my containers of salsa, cilantro, and lemons for our tacos.

After a short nap we went down to Will's uncle Jim, Jock, and JR's house for the big block 4th celebration. It was an immersion into our Whittier past....tattooed gang-bangers, loud music, a pinata, nachos with runny cheese sauce, homemade carne asada, ceviche, and the best salsa I've ever tasted. Unfortunately I was still full from lunch, so I had to wait a while to eat. But I probably ate about a cup of the salsa. It had avocados in it, along with all the other stuff its supposed to. Mi Casita's salsa is the closest thing I can find to the real stuff in Denton, so this was a huge treat. In this photo you can see Abigail deep in the fray, soon to emerge with a treat bag filled to the brim with candy, a lot of which was her very favorite--Mexican lucas candy. Sam didn't try so hard, and only got half a bag. They spent some very pleasant time on the driveway trading with each other.

One of my favorite events was the arrival of the ice cream truck. First, we don't have those in our neighborhood. Second, this one had the most elaborate paint job I've ever seen. Someone's brother/cousin/uncle was a professional, and it looked it. The kids were sliding down a bounce house water slide on the front lawn, so we had to get cones in honor of vacation, Whittier, their childhood, and summer.

As the evening wore on the fire crackers came out. Everyone had lots of illegal ones, and the sheriff down the street had the other stash. Apparently he confiscates them, and blows them off at his own party with a bunch of his other cop friends. The key was to keep the illegals in the houses, and so the homeowners kept going back and forth bringing out more as needed. If the police come, and you don't have a big pile on your lawn waiting to shot off, he can't do much. So we had a Disneyland style show for about and 1 1/2 hours-most people sitting on the lawn, the brave principles lighting them in the street with blowtorches. Effective. Madeline got hit with a sooty something on the lip, and Abby got some flecks of something in her eye, but other than that all was fine. The kids got to blow off some Roman candles, and sparklers of course. I've never done the 4th like this and neither have they, so it was a great experience.

The grand finale was shot off, and then the police showed up. A few young guys slunk off and made a quick getaway with their under-aged beer when they saw him, and when he left they were back, case on shoulder.The police threatened to search the houses if he came back and found them doing illegal fireworks-that was going to expose them to a whole lot of trouble, so the show was over. We left for the 90 mile drive to Palmdale, pulling in at about 12:30am. The kids fell asleep in the car, and didn't wake up until 9am today.