Saturday, August 22, 2009

The End
We spent our last afternoon and evening at the beach. This was the most time Hugh got to spend relaxing without working, driving, going to theme parks, or waiting in line. We had an awesome time.
It was fun to be there together as a family.......
It was fun to watch Hugh play with Houston. And he is so good at it.

Hugh said he especially loved this ocean this year. He was like an old man walking the shore and collecting shells, which are now in a jar on his desk. Hmmmmm.

Time to pack up and head out-Houston loves to ride these hotel carts. We just prayed we were still under the weight limit for our bags and we could get our hats, shovel, and 3-string guitar home that we bought at Goodwill. No problems-we all arrived safe and sound. Here's to California 2010!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pink's and Family
While we were out in California, we had the awesome chance to spend one evening with some of Hugh's cousins, who happened to live only about 20 minutes from us. We got to visit with most of the last year, but some new ones this year as well. We laughed, told stories, and had good Italian food. Thanks guys the hospitality!

Pink's is a world famous chili dog stand to the stars. It is located on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. You can get a hot dog ANY way you can imagine, and they probably offer them ways you have never thought of. This hot dog stand has been featured on the Food Network several times and shows like The View, Jay Leno, and Good Morning America. We must have had perfect timing because we only had to wait 15 minutes for our chili dogs, but when we left, the wait was over 1 1/2 hours!!
But they were SO yummy!!!

Even Houston ate his entire hot dog (hold the chili). We were on vacation, but momma's not silly.

Hugh got to enjoy the day with us which we were grateful for-he did all the driving and parking in Hollywood which can be a chore for sure. We ended the day with the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the big Hollywood sign. We walked down Santa Monica Blvd. and Hollywood Blvd., then we were off to the beach.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Knott's Berry Farm
We were about 5 miles from both Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland. We decided to go with Knott's Berry Farm because we figured the lines would be shorter (plus it was about $50 cheaper per person). We made the BEST choice. The longest we had to wait in line for Houston to ride a ride was about 10 minutes. After the first few of riding with Hugh or I, he gained lots of confidence and rode several by himself. He loved it and asked to go over and over.
On this race car ride, it whipped you around the end turn and it made him laugh so hard he could barely catch his breath before the next turn and it would happen again.
I couldn't resist this picture because he looks like a true truck driver with his arm hanging out the window and one hand on the steering wheel. Funny stuff.

This was the Knott's Berry Express, which is an actual steam engine we rode around the park. Of course anything train related and lil' man was all about it.

Hugh's request for the day was filled with this picture of Snoopy.

And like I said in a previous post, Houston has now fallen in love with "Poopy". We actually saw Snoopy on Ice while we were there and it was a great show. All the peanuts characters were on ice skates and they were wonderful. Poopy is now Soopy, so we are getting there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is THE Life!
Last year, the beach wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't great either. Houston had only been walking for a few weeks and we didn't bring enough supplies to be prepared. But this year, oh man was it different. We LOVED it! The water, the sand, the sky, the sun, the breeze, the temperature. Everything was perfect. We had toys, snacks, water, towels-you name it and we looked like beach pros. This was our first of 3 days spent in the sand. AWESOME!!!!

Houston loved the sand. And he loved the water, too, as long as you were holding him. He didn't want to get in own his own, but he entertained himself for hours digging and making sandcastles.

We enjoyed our time so much we decided we had to come back a few times before we left. Hugh did get to enjoy one day with us and I will post those pics later. We tried Seal Beach, but our favorite spot was Huntington Beach.

I love this picture of Houston and my mom. It was also great to see her have such a good time walking the shore and collecting shells (which I hope don't end up on the back of the toilet). This day was good stuff.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Zoo Any Chance I Get.....
If you know me very well, you know that I love to find a zoo in any new town we travel to and check it out. And, L.A. was no different. I had heard good and bad things about it but it was only $11 and that's not bad for a full day's worth of entertainment in California. I have to say, initially, we were disappointed. The Children's Zoo was closed and the train was not working, both big strikes with Houston. But, as we got further into the zoo, we did get to see lots of animals, had ice cream, and ending up making a fabulous day of it. And, I can cross another zoo off the list.

Each trip Houston gets more and more into the animals-he can find them easier on their own and he can name most of them now. It always makes momma happy when her baby enjoys himself.

They had a baby giraffe there-he was 6 feet tall when he was born in April.

Of course he can make any day a good one with his nana.

And he found a new love on our trip this year that was waiting for him on the bed when we got back from the zoo. He is now a "Poopy" lover. He's actually gotten better and now calls him "Soopy".

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reagan Library
I was young when Reagan was in office, so I don't know a lot about his presidency. I remember learning about the assassination attempt on his life, that he was in movies before going into politics, he was Governor of California, and that he was an accomplished athlete. My friend, Dana, suggested we spend a day at the library while out in California. I have to say, regardless of your public affiliation or personal feelings to this man, it was an awesome experience, and ended up being one of my favorite things about the whole trip (besides the beach, of course!).
Secret service greet you at the door, give you the rules, and then you are pretty much on your way to explore. We got to see really fascinating things-presidential seals used at the White House, the clothes he was wearing (and the x-rays) when he was shot, his inaugural suit, a replica of the oval office with pieces he actually used while there, but my favorite was......

getting on board Air Force One. We learned how they bought/prepared meals, the football he carried with him with secret codes on it, his office, the "Situation Room" on plane. It was really cool. This plane actually carried Reagan, Bush, and 5 other presidents. We weren't allowed to take pictures on board. For the time the technology was very advanced, it would be considered "archaic" even in one of our homes today. Very, very cool experience.

Another thing I loved about it was the setting. The library is in Simi Valley and the landscape and view is amazing.

If we ever get to go back to California, I will be making another stop here for sure.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

California 2009
We had another great trip to California this year and we found something different to do every day this year from our trip last year. We arrived about 10:30 L.A. time, ate at In-N-Out Burger, and then checked in to our hotel. We decided it was the day for a quick trip down to San Diego, about an 1 1/2 away. The scenery was beautiful and since we went to the zoo last year, we went to Old Towne San Diego for some authentic atmosphere.

Old Towne was a quaint little village with homemade salsa, olive oil, desserts, and souvenirs. We ate a restaurant called Coyote Cantina that had amazing food. It was an open restaurant and we enjoyed the activities on the street and the awesome weather while we ate.

I loved this picture-the sky was beautiful and it was right by our table where we sat for the folk dancing.

This was one of Hugh's favorite parts while in San Diego because the music, costumes, and dancing were so unique. They did about 8 different dances, all with different traditional costumes and music. Houston clapped and danced along, it was awesome. After a LONG day, we made it back home about 11:30, which is really 1:30 to our bodies. We brought back 2 of our 3 souvenirs for family here-I'm so glad we got to experience and learn more about this culture.
It really was a fun day.