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Sunday, August 16, 2009

The cat is out of the bag

Dear Friends and Family,

The secret is out of the bag and I can finally talk about our trip to Newport. I am amazed that my sister-in-law Mimi kept it a secret for the past 4 months but we were able to meet up in sunny Newport, California to celebrate my brother Daniel turning 30. We stayed for a week of fun, sunshine and visiting. It was AWESOME! It seems like so much has happened in the last 2 weeks that I am going to go chronologically.

Two weeks ago I flew out to California for three days for my sister Christina taking out her endowments. I stayed with Peter, Katherine and Christina along with their menagerie of pets. Got to laugh at and admire Porkchop and take a long three hour walk Tuesday morning down memory lane as I walked the new trail by my house out to Shoreline. Had to stop at La Boulongere for some sourdough bread on the way back - it is the best ever. It worked out that my brother David and his family were there Monday night and Tuesday as Peter and Katherine had been babysitting their 3 boys. So I got to visit with them as well. And of course despite the camera packed in my new gargantuan mommy purse I forgot to take any pictures! Tuesday I spent the afternoon escorting Christina through the temple. It was an amazing privilege. I was impressed by how many of her friends were able to come be with her through this process. I had a lot of flashbacks to taking out my own endowments 15 years earlier in the same temple. Wednesday I got up before the sun and a very obliging Christina took me to the airport at 5 am! I realized I have never flown completely by myself for 15 years now. It has always been with Jeremy or kids. It felt very strange.

The rest of the week was spent catching up on laundry, weeding Lauri's, and getting everything in order for us to leave Saturday morning. Jeremy took the girls Friday evening for the daddy/daughter campout where they roasted hot-dogs and ran rampant. Figured they would come exhausted. But at 2:30 a.m.!!!! our kids were up and dressed, ready to go. My alarm was set for 3:30 BUT since everyone was up and happy we left a bit early. Good part is that the kids all zonked out and slept for the first 4 hours, watched a movie for 2 hours and we didn't stop till Las Vegas. There we introduced them to the joys of a casino buffet at some very greasy old casino outside of town. We will not be returning there! But kids loved it especially the fact that they served ice cream for breakfast. So we all porked out and decided to call it brunch. On the way back we stopped at a much cleaner, nicer place. And Allison realized that a plate of bacon and an ice cream cone were not her only options this time.

Rolled into Newport around 4 after stopping at Albertson's with some very hyped up kids. Met Daniel and family at the condo, yelled surprise and were thrilled to all be together. Peter and Katherine met up with us and we went out to the Crab Cooker for some really good sea food. Our kids were in heaven because they had shrimp while I was smiling with my big cup of clam chowder. The condo we stayed at was one block away from the Balboa pier on the peninsula. We bought boogie boards for the kids and after trying out Newport's really rough surf Sunday and Monday we moved onto Huntington down the road for the other days. It was just a wonderful time. Our kids were thrilled to be playing in the sand and waves. Robyn was a little territorial with Claire but by the last day was cheerfully sharing her milk shake and hugs. Peter and Katherine stayed till Wednesday morning at her grandparents and came down every day to visit and play. Christina drove up Tuesday to stay with us and relax as well. She left Friday night.

One day we took the ferry over to Balboa Island to walk around admiring the quirky shops and amazing beach houses. Kids weren't too thrilled until they found the ice cream shop that sold Balboa bars. Peter and Katherine had told us about them and they did not disappoint. After that kids thought it was the best place ever! Spencer and Allison learned how to pace themselves and would boogie board, hunt for shells till tired and then collapse on a towel with a book and a box of snacks. Robyn's hair became bleached out and except for her daily tantrums in the morning and her nightly too excited to sleep excursions she had a wonderful time. She would just roll in the sand till she was covered head to toe and then run to the ocean till she was shivering.

We left Taylor at home with Meredith and they spent the week swimming, going for walks and having a great time. He gave me a big smile though when we came home so I think that although he enjoyed the pampering one on one time he must have missed us a little.

On Wednesday we did the Disneyland excursion for the day. We got to the park around 9:30 and left at midnight. Except for the afternoon melt down of everyone from heat and lines which ice cream helped fix, it was amazing. Mimi and Daniel discovered the one rider stand-by line which let everyone ride the big rides without waiting in line for an hour and a half. Robyn was amazed by Snow White's castle and all the excitement wore her out to the point that she took an hour nap in our arms along with Claire. My favorite part was watching the fireworks over the castle. Kids oohed and awed wearing flashing necklaces Mimi provided and it was AMAZING. We were starving by nightime and kids managed to put away plates of macaroni and cheese at a restaurant within minutes - literally. It was very crowded, loud, happy and thrilling all rolled into one. The next day we all slept in!

Saturday was just one of those days which you always try not to think about. Leaving at 4 am to drive home and unpack. Never a fun part. Packing always flies by but unpacking just stinks! This morning we had Stake Conference. Jeremy said he wasn't sure who was filled with more trepidation, me because I was speaking or him because he was watching 4 kids by himself. He did great though and even put Robyn to sleep. Which at 11 am is an amazing feat - think the vacation wiped her out. Think the talk went OK and I am glad to not have to worry about it anymore.

Kids ate big plates of tortillini for lunch thanks to Daniel and Mimi putting up with our stop at Trader Joe's one day. Wish I was back there, with family around. But next year! Second week of August?!

Love to you all - its back to reality for us. These pictures are all definitely second string and I will post a link when Jeremy gets all of his up.


We rented bikes one day and took them along the boardwalk for an hour. I love beach cruisers and think I could do that every day. Kids loved it.

In the Tiki Room. Last time we went to Disneyland it closed before dark. It was neat to stay with all the lights on. To ride Thunder Mountain with only spotlights to light the path.

Allison was excited to meet all the fairies and Tinkerbell in Pixie Land.

Can never forget the chips and salsa. Especially when Cafe Rio pork is around!

At least half of every day (after the first day which was spent in a frenzy of shell collecting) Allison spent relaxing with some new books.

Peter and Daniel were sporting some very handsome hats this trip.

After seeing the little girls being buried, Daniel hopped into the game and became a lovely mermaid.

Robyn enjoying her casino buffet.


Heather Hall said...

Forgot to add that Jeremy had an interesting experience when he caught a group of teenagers breaking into the ATM across the street with a crowbar at 5 am. Spent the early hours talking with the police.