California Vacation ~ Part 1

Posted on October 17th, 2010 by Jean

Our family reunion/vacation has come and gone. It really flew by, as I knew it would. Our first day consisted of driving to Vegas, hopping on a plane, landing in Sacramento, renting a car, and checking into our hotel. At 4pm, we gathered at my brother’s house for my sister’s surprise birthday party hosted by our nine year old nephew. He had the dining room decked out in a Spider Man theme, and had personally made spidey cupcakes to compliment the bakery cake my Mom brought. High on a sugar rush, the kids played Wii games while we adults talked, laughed, and absorbed the warmth of family.

After the sun set, our rumbling stomachs insisted we toss down a sacrifice, so we gobbled burgers, nuggets and fries to appease them. We slept well in our new surroundings, but I dreamt of cutting open my pillow and removing half of the stuffing. I wasn’t meant to sleep with my chin resting on my chest, eyes staring at toes.
At 5am, we woke and began to kill time before contacting family. We drank coffee and fed the kids ramen noodles. The girls bathed, using the cinnamon-scented soaps and lotions. Tom retrieved plates of complimentary bacon and english muffins. Finally the hour was respectable enough to make a phone call, and we were soon in my parents’ kitchen. The girls wasted no time drawing pictures to adorn Grandma & Papa’s fridge.

At 11am, we caravanned to the Texas Roadhouse for lunch. I hadn’t heard of this fine establishment, but we were encouraged to throw peanut shells on the ground while the staff burst into spontaneous dancing. Birthday celebrants, such as my sister, are forced to sit on a saddle while patrons yell, “Yee Haw!” Don’t believe me? Watch the short video.

After a delicious lunch, we ventured over to the Jelly Belly Factory for a tour. The best part? Samples were handed out along the way. We tasted honey and plum beans and juicy pear centers.Family at Jelly Belly The pace was brisk, and we soon popped out at the Gift Shop. I couldn’t resist buying souvenir socks, water bottles, sour worms, and super fruit beans for the girls. Of course, I grabbed a bag of chocolate malt balls for myself. I love chocolate!
Still full from lunch and jelly bean snacks, we walked to a local pond, admiring the ducks & geese, and tossing them bread.
Returning to my brother’s, the kids entertained themselves with Wii until Uncle Jim performed an impromptu magic act. Tom got in at the end, and it was dueling card tricks to the astonishment of us all. Note to self: Learn a card trick!
We called it an early night because the next day we were heading to Six Flags.
To be continued.
• When was your last family reunion?
• Have you been embarrassed in a restaurant on your birthday?
• Know any card tricks?

Birthday Hangover

Posted on June 11th, 2008 by Jean

I’m a little hung-over. We went out last night to celebrate my birthday early. One of our friends had arranged to take us, but then had to cancel last minute. Tom and I still went. The friend comped us $150 towards the meal.
We had about 5 minutes to kill before dinner, so we sat down to gamble. I hit 4 Aces for $100!

Dinner was GREAT, and Tom was so much FUN!
I put a flower behind my ear.

Tom put a flower behind his ear.

We drank.

Tom licked my face.

Oh, here’s Chris, our server. I told him I’d blog about him. I don’t know why he’s blurry… hiccup!

Let’s see… oh ya! The food!

We had steak & lobster, calamari, escargot, and oysters.
Anyone know how to cure a hang-over?

Star Trek Party

Posted on January 16th, 2008 by Jean

I know what you’re saying. Did she or didn’t she wear that Star Trek outfit? Well, technically yes, I wore it, but no, I chickened out and did not wear it to the party! I looked too much like the girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who turns into a blueberry!

So the theme of my brother’s birthday party was Outer Space. To give their party that spacey feel, they wrapped the furniture in foil.

Yes, Captain Picard was there! That’s my brother as Captain Kirk.
The food served was all of my brother’s favorites: pepperoni pizza, popcorn balls, sugar cookies, potato chips, olives, quesadillas, potato skins, mozzarella sticks, gingerbread cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, lemon pie and chocolate pie.

There were relatives there I hadn’t seen in 10 years! Cousins with children already in high school. Even 4 classmates from my brother’s high school showed up! It was like, This Is Your Life!
I should have taken more pictures, but it was kind of like the twilight zone, seeing all these old (you know what I mean) faces.
At one point, we were all given our boarding passes

Glow stick wristbands.
… and took a trip to the moon!
Ok, actually, they projected a Disney Moon Ride film onto the wall.

Mr. Disney, special effects have certainly improved since 1954! Wow, what a cheesey movie!
So, it was a lot of fun, and I’m glad I went. It was the first time I’ve gone to one of their themed parties. Next time, I hope to bring Tom and the kids!