Disneyland - Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Everyone thought we were crazy to go to Disneyland over Memorial Day Weekend, but I have to tell you, it was one of the best trips we’ve had in a long time!  I can’t remember the last time we were there with fewer people.  I don’t know why (maybe graduations) but it was awesome.  (And the weather was perfect too.)

Leroy and I drove down with Sierra and Jameson, checked into the hotel and headed straight to the park.  Our first ride was Small World and Jameson really loved it.  He was much more observant this time (longer attention span) and kept looking at us like “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

We scored a great spot for the Pixar parade (the Pixar Lamp was Jameson’s favorite part.)  During the parade, Leroy stayed on the other side of the street to try and get us a bench for the fireworks and he was able to save a perfect seat for us.  We kept Jameson occupied with stroller rides and suckers until he finally fell asleep for a quick nap.  He awoke just before fireworks started.  They were awesome!

The next day was spent at California Adventure.  Jameson tried his first pickle (and loved it) while we were waiting for the Disney Junior show.  We sat up front and Jameson danced with the other kids the entire time.  He was particularly fond of one of the cast members (who was blocking the exit) and kept going over to her. 

While Grandpa was watching the Warriors game in Downtown Disney, we went back to California Adventure where we got a great photo with Goofy (the birthday boy!)  Goofy loved Jameson and kept gesturing to him.  When our group photo was done, he asked us to wait and squatted on the floor to get a photo with Jameson alone.  He was very sweet.  We ended the evening with the Paint the Night Parade before heading back to the hotel.

We didn’t really plan it, but we were back in Disneyland at the rope-drop on Sunday morning.  Again, we were shocked at how few people were there.  Since there was no line for the Dole Whip, we ordered, and I was given the “I’m Celebrating” badge for “First Dole Whip of the Day!”  (It’s kind of a big deal.)  I was so proud!  I wore it all day long.  (It dawned on me later that people thought it was because I planned on eating multiple Dole Whips.)  Can you imagine how many Dole Whips are sold in Disneyland in one day?  But on May 27, 2018, I got the first one! We then headed to Pooh’s Corner (again with no one there) and were able to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride twice.

We also had a great time on the Jungle Cruise.  We were on with a couple of rookie guests who thought all of the jokes were funny (and also thought they were going to get wet from the hippos.)

Another highlight for Jameson was meeting Woody.  (His favorite Disney toy at home.)

We ended the day with Jameson’s favorite part of the whole trip.  We took him back to California Adventure for the splash pad in Bugs Land.  He had a ball.  He stood under the water and splashed to the delight of everyone watching.  He cried a bit when we went from one to the other, but quickly realized he was at another pad where the water shot up this time.  He would creep over the valves and wait for the water to shoot up his pants and shirt.  He loved every minute of it.  We changed his clothes and he crashed immediately.

We ended the day back at the hotel with Jameson’s first time in in the swimming pool.  (The kid loves water.)  We played with his new Legos in the hotel room and went to bed early so we could drive home the next day.  Our trips just keep getting better and better.  I can’t wait for the next one!





1st Annual Moms (Gone Wild) Weekend

Once a month, I go to dinner with some friends.  We’ve been doing this for about 22 years and there is no sign of us slowing down.  (If anything, we are more committed than ever.)  During those years, we’ve always talked about traveling together (or at least going away for a weekend.)  Well, it finally happened.  We set a date and made a simple plan for a two-night get-a-way and I think it was the first of many more to come.

We spent the weekend in Angels Camp (about an hour drive from Modesto.)  We shopped around in the cute little town of Murphy’s and even drove a little further up the hill to Avery (to take some photos of a property for Leroy.) 

We ate, drank and laughed… a lot.  We poked fun at each other (and ourselves,) reminisced and planned for the future.  We “hiked” around Greenhorn Creek Golf Course (through the beautiful neighborhood) and got lost but came across some deer who watched us with curiosity. 

Kris Lewis drove (although I’m not sure we’ll let her drive the next time,) Stephanie Pizzirulli cooked (and asked a lot of questions,) Chris Yates documented the whole thing with photographs and I relaxed and enjoyed my time with dear friends.

I’m already looking forward to the next trip.


Beautiful Lake Tahoe

I don’t know why… but Leroy and I haven’t spent nearly enough time in the Lake Tahoe area.  Prior to our most recent visit in April 2018, we had only been there one other time (together.)  The last time I was there I was with my sister-in-law Anne.  She took me to see Elton John in concert (and it was awesome!)  Even the drive up there was beautiful with the rivers and streams full of water from the spring run-off.

2018-04Tahoe - 1.jpg

There’s an old saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.”  I won’t argue with that truth, but I will add, “Wherever you go, you’ll run into people you know.”  This is especially true traveling with Leroy.  Upon our arrival, we discovered that the time-share is right next to a beautiful little Catholic church, Our Lady of Tahoe.  We went to mass only to discover friends from Turlock sitting in front of us.  (By the way, if you ever get a chance to attend mass at this church, do so.  The priest was wonderful and the community very welcoming.)

Later that evening, we realized that other friends were also vacationing nearby.  Kenny and Sherry Galas were also staying in the Lake Tahoe area for exactly the same dates.  We spent our first full day together exploring the lake, assembling a puzzle (more on that later) and generally just laughing.  A lot.

On our trip to Sand Beach Harbor, we were walked the shoreline commenting on the whitecaps and waves generated by the incoming storm.  Suddenly, Kenny said he’d jump in the lake for $100.  I quickly agreed (admitting that I only had access to about $80, but it was all his if he followed through.)  Sherry (Kenny’s wife) told him no, but Leroy was standing behind her, silently encouraging him with a head nod.  I didn’t think he was serious at first but then he started taking off (some of) his clothes.  He handed Leroy his cellphone, hat, shoes and sweatshirt and ran into the surf while the rest of us stood on the beach in shock. 

Kenny dove head first into Lake Tahoe on April 15th when the water temperature was close to 41°.  That’s damn cold.  Needless to say he didn’t stay in long… and it took him a minute to catch his breath, but he did it.  (I told Leroy we need to find smarter friends.)

2018-04Tahoe - 3.jpg

We went back to our room and dried his clothes while the rest of us started on a 750-piece jigsaw puzzle.  (I hadn’t assembled a puzzle in years and we knew this one was going to be a challenge.)  Sherry and Leroy didn’t waste any time getting the boarder assembled while Kenny and I observed and encouraged them.

We woke up the next day to a Winter Wonderland.  The snowfall overnight covered the entire resort with a beautiful white blanket.  Leroy and I spent the entire day watching the snow fall while we stayed snuggly warm, next to the fireplace inside the room.  (All of my Utah/Idaho/Washington family members are laughing at me right now.)  I haven’t watched snow fall for many, many years.  It was a real treat.

We soon welcomed more friends.  John and Sandra Toste joined us for the last two nights of our stay.  Since this was Sandra’s first visit to Lake Tahoe, we drove around and did a little sightseeing (including the overlook of Emerald Bay.)  We also went back to Sand Beach and couldn’t believe the difference in the lake.  The angry, churning water was not as smooth as glass.  (But just as cold.)

The best part of our time with John and Sandra were the hours and hours of conversation and catching up.  John and Leroy reminisced about growing up together and even re-enacted a favorite activity; making homemade Lemon Bars.  The boys would do this to compete against Anne and Bernadette Oliveira (now Sierra’s sister-in-law) to see who made the best batch.) We laughed a lot, but I have to say the Lemon Bars were delicious. 

We also became obsessed with completing the puzzle.  Thank goodness Sandra was so willing to help.  (I knew she’d be really good at it.)  After dinner on our last night, the boys went to the casino while Sandra and I finished the puzzle. 

We haven’t been home a week and I’m already excited to return.