California Vacation ~ Part 2

Posted on October 23rd, 2010 by Jean

There’s a large, prestine park near my parents’ home, so after a delicious breakfast at Huckleberrys, we all took a walk with Grandma and Papa to exert some energy and enjoy a little more bonding time.
 

 
Then we were off to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. It used to be Marine World, and is an aquarium, zoo and theme-park. If you go, buy your tickets online. Adults pay kids’ rate. It’s also worth the extra $5 for premium parking reducing your trek to the entrance.
 
It’s impossible to cover all that ground in one afternoon, so we stuck to the zoo and kiddie rides.
 

 
Lunch was ridiculously expensive. The “special” at the Beachside Burger Shack was four burgers, four fries and four sodas for $44.
 

 
Tom and I had guacamole burgers, and with the kids’ chicken baskets, our total came to around $50.
 
A highlight of the day was watching this young adult tiger eating meat treats in his very own swimming pool.
 

 
After five hours, we were more than happy to return to our hotel and crash in our beds. Tom got up to retrieve us a pizza from the restaurant next door. Food tastes so much better when you are completely exhausted.
 
We slept soundly, and awoke to a beautiful morning for travel. Our flight was scheduled for noon, so after packing and checking out, we met Mom and Dad at my brother’s house to say our good byes. I hope we don’t let another three years pass before our next visit.
 
• Do you pay the exorbitant dining rates at amusement parks?
• Aquarium, zoo, or theme park ~ which is your favorite?
• Can you identify the animal in the bottom row of the Rides & Zoo collage?

 
To view our youngest daughter’s fondest memories of the trip, visit my guest post at The Mama Mary Show.

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?


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