I finished going through our pictures from our family vacation. Jerick was able to get some time off from work and we were able to go on a long vacation together as a family.
Jerick had August 11 through the 20th off from work, unheard of during fire season!! Our first part of our trip we headed up to Salinas to visit with Jerick's parents. Jerick and I had planned to go to San Francisco just the two of us Sunday and Monday. J's folks watched the kids for us. It is a rarity for me to be away from my kids, especially if it's not for a wedding. I have only been away from my kids overnight a few times, it's difficult to be away from them since I'm always with my babies, but oh it was so nice!!! On our way up to Salinas, right after we drove through King City, our car sputtered and the car lost power on the 101. I felt so lucky that Jerick was with me, I do so much traveling alone with our kids. We immediately signaled our hazard lights and cruised in the shoulder to a safe spot. I called AAA as quick as I could and we had a 45 minute wait for the next available tow truck. Darn. We had plenty of food and cold drinks so that was a plus. A Highway Patrol stopped behind us and kept a careful watch for our safety. James was so excited when the tow truck arrived, "Look, it's Tow Mater!" We got a ride in "Tow Mater" to the Nissan dealership in Salinas. Jerick's dad picked us up and we continued with making plan B for our transportation. Jerick's mother offer to let us drive her car to San Francisco for our visit the following day...a hardtop convertible Volvo. We had so much fun cruising in San Francisco with the top down. I was able to get some sweet pictures driving across the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. We stayed in a hotel by Fisherman's Wharf. I love the North Beach side of SF. We had a late sushi lunch in North Beach and got loads of chocolate at Ghirardelli Square. We walked up and down Columbus Avenue, another one of my favorites. We bought some coffee at Caffé Trieste and walked by my favorite building in SF, the Transamerica Pyramid, such a cool building. We were on the lookout for a tasty Italian restaurant on Columbus Avenue and decided we would go to Trattoria Pinocchio. It was delicious!! The following day we grabbed breakfast at the Boudin Bakery and we bought our kids bread shaped as turtles and a loaf of bread shaped as a crab for Jerick's parents. We drove on the Golden Gate with the top down and pulled over to the Vista Point. We then went to the Presidio and spent almost 3 hours in The Walt Disney Family Museum. It was amazing learning about Walt's early life and seeing his early cartooning and his ideas for Disneyland. I got teary-eyed walking through the galley about Walt's sudden death and the drawings of his beloved characters mourning his death. We then hopped back into the car and drove past the Painted Ladies houses and I think the theme song to "Full House" stayed in our heads for the rest of the day. We headed over to Union Square and dashed into Tiffany & Co. and looked at all the gorgeous jewelry. So sparkly!! We had a late lunch/early dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in Macy's. Then walked down Market to Yerba Buena Gardens and snapped some pictures there and of the MOMA. It was getting late so we decided to head back to Salinas. I couldn't wait to give my kids a big bear hug. I really missed them!!
We decided to hang out an extra day in Salinas, with hopes that the Nissan dealership would have our car ready in time. They had promised us it was going to be ready on Wednesday. We relaxed as a family the next day and walked around the pier in Monterey and took the kids to the Dennis the Menace park there. Wednesday morning we had our bags packed and thought we could continue out trip...Nissan called and told us the car wouldn't be ready until Friday. Crap!!! Jerick's dad let us continue to borrow his truck and we drove it home to Buellton. We washed our clothes and repacked the bags for our next leg of our trip. On Thursday we headed down the Santa Monica in my good ol' Honda Civic. Good ol' reliable!! We cruised down HWY 1, Lily wanted to see what Malibu looked like. She was awestruck with all the homes built practically on the beach. We drove to Santa Monica and arrived at our hotel with little traffic surprisingly. We drove down to the Santa Monica pier and ate an early dinner at Bubba Gump's. James was excited to see the name "Bubba" everywhere, as that is our nickname for him. After a yummy dinner we ran around on the beach till sunset and then walked over to where all the fun rides are. Jerick and the kids had a blast going on the rides. The kids had the biggest smiles on their faces. The next day we proceeded to drive down to San Diego to visit my brother and his wife. We took a dip in the pool when we arrived at our hotel, we want to relax after sitting in too much traffic. We met up with my brother and his wife in Old Town and had dinner at Fred's Mexican Cafe and had ice cream for dessert. On Saturday we woke up early stuffed our faces with breakfast and rushed over to La Jolla Shores. Jerick, Lily, Dave and Michelle had reservations to go on a kayak tour. James isn't old enough yet, so we played on the beach and in the water while they went kayaking. Lily loved it! They saw fish swimming next to their kayak and seals and she saw dolphins too! Lily loved going into the cave. The tour guide had a game for his tourists: to stand on the edge of their kayak and stay up for 10 counts. Lily volunteered first and balanced beyond 10 counts. She was the only one in the group who was able to do it! That's my girl!! James and I played in the water and collected seashells. When their kayak adventure ended, they grabbed some sandwiches and met up with us. It was so nice slurping down an ice cold drink. Did I mention how hot it was?!? We cooled off as much as we could in the water, but by 3:30 (having spent 6 hours there) we were done. Luckily the kids didn't get sunburned, I kept loading them up with sunscreen. But all of us got so sun burned! Ouch! My legs are still a little pink!! We went back to our hotel and showered and rested then went back to my brother and his wife's home for a BBQ. We did a small early birthday celebration for my brother with cupcakes we bought at the store. We were all beat, so we called decided to call it an early night. The next morning, Sunday, we had breakfast at DZ Akin's. So yummy!! Then we rushed off to Disneyland. Luckily we didn't hit too much traffic. But Disneyland/California Disney was so packed!! We spent most of the day in Cars Land, James's favorite place. We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, then went back to Cars Land to see all the amazing neon lights. We dashed over to Disneyland after the fireworks ended and hit so many rides after the crowds thinned. It truly is one of the best times to be at Disneyland, right after the fireworks all the way till closing. Our kids are total troopers! James fell fast asleep on our walk back to our hotel room. The next morning we went to Disneyland. We were shocked how quiet it was in the morning. But soon after lunch, the craziness and crowds began to grow. We left Disneyland around 7 to head home and we zoomed through LA. No traffic, yippie!! We made it home in good time. Got the kids in bed and passed out as well. Whew!! That was our amazing and very packed family trip. Never a dull moment :) Here are some pictures from our awesome vacation. Enjoy!! :)