Friday, May 28, 2010

The final get-away

An hour after I got back from my marathon trek home, Phil left for Whistler. I decided to get a good night's sleep in my own bed. The next day I got up, ran some errands, then packed for one more get-away in my incredible month off.

I met the boys at our favorite campsite in Whistler. They were excessively sore from a hard day of riding! We ate dinner around the campfire and spent the evening relaxing.

Unfortunately when we got up the next morning, it was raining. Since I don't have rain gear, I sent the boys off to the mountain and I went to Starbucks and curled up in the corner with an Americano and my laptop. Not a bad way to finish my month of vacation!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The trek home

After two wonderful weeks in California, it was time to head home. I decided to just suck it up and make the trip in one day. So I got up at 3:45AM, hopped in car and off I went. The drive was great all through northern California.

As soon as I crossed the state line in Oregon the clouds increased and before i knew it, rain was pouring down. But I was still making good time.

I stopped at Phil's parents house in Oregon to drop some stuff off and pick other stuff up. I quickly repacked the car, grabbed a quick bite, then hit the road again, determined to beat traffic.

Too bad it didn't work. In Portland there was an accident that backed up the highway. I finally cleared that, then 70 miles north there was another accident near Centralia. From there to north of Seattle, it was a game. 15 miles of cruising at 60 mph, then back to stop and go. Then cruise for a bit. Then back to stop and go. All. The. Way! I was so frustrated by this point and I just wanted to go home.

Finally when I got north of Seattle the highway started cruising a bit.

The final laugh of the day though came at my exit. I decided to take the 2nd exit to Ferndale to see how construction was coming along on a road project. The joke was on me - construction was going so well that the road was completely shut down. And to make it worse, I couldn't even get back on the highway to go back to the other exit. So, within minutes of home, i had to take another detour.

When I finally pulled into the garage, I got out, and collapsed onto our freshly mowed lawn and just layed there for  a few minutes. 4am to 7:30PM..... I was glad to be home!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Livermore Wineries

I love wine! So naturally, I love going wine tasting as well. I thought Napa Valley was the only wine country in the Bay Area, but I was so wrong! My dear cuz introduced me to the Livermore Valley wineries. Located in the south east Bay Area, this area features the oldest wineries in California. Added bonus - they are totally laid back, casual, affordable and not hoity-toity like Napa!

We enjoyed tasting at Wente, Tamas and Murrieta's well. They even had a sweet deal that if you tasted at 3 wineries, you got a $25 coupon off any purchase over $50!!!! Of course I had to taste at all three and use my coupon. Brought some great wines home!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unpacking

After our fun weekend, I dropped Phil's parents off at Ontario airport, then drove across town to drop Phil off at LAX, then hit the road north back to the Bay Area. I spent the next few days hanging out with the L family. They had just moved the weekend before so M and I unpacked, sorted, cleaned and moved furniture for most of the week. Of course we did slip in some fun - more on that tomorrow.

I also got to hang out with the little L ladies! I read bedtime stories, walked them to school, had dates with them at the Yogurt Shack, watched cheerleading practice and had Wii tournaments! So much fun!!!!

Here's Superstar and I on our yogurt date

Snuggling with all my little ladies the night before I left

My good friend and cousin Mel and I. Thanks for the great week!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Meet the family

My dear bro-in-law started dating a wonderful girl last year. Unfortunately, I was stuck working when she came up to Oregon last summer, so I had yet to meet her. One of the main reasons for this trip was for us to get to know her more and to meet her family. Although I had met her on Skype, it was nice to finally meet face to face. Gotta say, my bro did well on this one! She is nice, fun, smart, sweet and perfect for Peter! And, she is in nursing school right now! These Snyder men sure know how to pick 'em! :)

We had a great time hanging out for the weekend and getting to meet her family, who are also a blast!

Thanks for the fun weekend!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maxine

We got home early from Whistler today so we decided to pick up Maxine.

She's so cute and sweet!

I'm in love with her already!

Knotts Berry Farm

We decided to take advantage of being in southern California and hit up one of the many amusement parks. After MUCH debate, we finally decided on Knotts Berry Farm! I think that the major coupon we found might have helped - $32 per person is much better than the $70 that Universal Studios was going to be.

Of course by the time we had decided on Knotts, had breakfast and got the clan out the door, we had already missed the first few hours of the park. But we still had a great time. I had never been there before, so it was all new for me. They had some incredible roller coasters there!!! So much fun! My favorite, the Xcellerator, went from 0 to 82 mph in 2.3 seconds then sent you straight up - SO FUN!!!!

Here we are on a little mining ride

Waiting to go on the water log ride

We somehow convinced Roxie to go on the Perilous Plunge. Not only that, we managed to get the front row! Needless to say, we got quite wet! But it was fun. And it kept us cool for the afternoon.

The feet sticking out on the bottom are Phil's. We had fun twisting all around on this one.

After riding in the park all day we went out for the famous chicken dinner. So tasty!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oasis in the desert

The I-5 between San Francisco and LA is.... well it's boring. It's flat and straight. The only good thing about it is that you can usually go FAST! However, it's still very boring.

As Phil and I made this perilously boring trek, we reached the mid-point and decided it was time to switch off driving and get some lunch. We began to search the Around Me app on the iPhone (best road trip accessory EVER) for somewhere to eat. I was expecting that we would have to eat at some random little place, or maybe McDonalds... Subway if we were lucky.

However, fate and the iPhone smiled upon us. Two exits away was an IN-N-OUT burger! To think that we had nearly stopped else for some plain fast food, when IN-N-OUT was so close! We pulled off, got our YUMMY burgers, ate, were content, then hit the road again.

As we looked at the map after, on our IN-N-OUT app on the iPhone (yes there is an app, and yes do have it), we saw that it was the ONLY one in central California! And then we felt even luckier.

Thank you IN-N-OUT! Thank you iPhone!

PS - yes, I'm obsessed with the iPhone and I don't even have one yet!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tacky tourist

I hate looking like a tourist. When we were in Europe we ran into the quintessential tacky tourists - they were fat, loud north americans, with awful patterned sweat pants, fanny packs, and cameras hanging around their necks, who spent most of their time complaining about how things were different! Since the moment I saw them, I swore that I would NEVER look or sound like that.

So when I'm traveling, I try to always look stylish, still wear cute shoes, and use a normal purse rather than a traveling backpack. Such was the case as we took the BART into San Francisco last week. I kept my camera nicely tucked away and walked with an air of confidence that declared I was a local. Of course I'm not, but whatever.

As we got to Pier 39, I realized the ridiculousness of my little charade. I was at Pier 39.... it doesn't get much more touristy than that! So I embraced the moment, got out my camera, and just kept it around my wrist. I ate over priced fish and chips, and a yummy bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I bought cheesy magnets that say Fisherman's Wharf and even posed by the sign for a pic... and I loved every moment of it!


Posing with Alcatraz in the background

Phil on Pier 39

Watching all the fat sea lions

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

L ladies

Our next stop after Oregon was the Bay Area. We stayed with Phil's uncle in Berkeley and used it as our home base for a few days of sightseeing and seeing friends.

My dear cousin, who abandoned me by moving away from Bellingham several years ago, picked me up in the morning for a day of fun. We did some window shopping, hit IKEA, and just hung out with the girls after school. Our hubbies then joined us and we headed for a nice dinner out.

Here I am posing with my favorite little L ladies

Phil played outside with the girls - meaning he got a turn on the little car!

A was the bravest - whipping around the corner at wicked speeds

All together!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Driving

Hard to believe that we are a week into our road trip already. We left last friday and drove from our place to Phil's parents house in Oregon. We spent Saturday with Phil's fam then hit the road again on Sunday. The drive was actually less boring than I had expected and we enjoyed some beautiful scenery along the way.

The highlight of the drive was our stop at In-N-Out in Redding, CA. Usually a stop at In-N-Out is enough in of itself to be exciting, but this stop also included a visit with my dear friend Jen! We were buddies back at TWU and have kept in touch over the years. We had planned on getting one of our "we're so cute" pictures together, but alas we forgot. I guess I'll just have to go and visit her in Washington DC to get the pic!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

10 years

Phil and I met 10 years ago. I was sorting through some stuff and came across this picture of us on the Oregon coast during the first summer that we hung out together. Ahh, memories!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Expanding

After 5 years of marriage, Phil and i have decided to expand our family. So... we're getting a puppy! And you all thought I was going to say we were pregnant! HA!

We've been talking about getting a dog for years and finally the time seems right, mostly because school is finally finished! It's a big jump in responsibility for us. We're used to the cats which you can easily leave for the weekend by loading up their food dishes. It's going to be weird having so many daily tasks and responsibilities associated with a dog, but we're excited for it.

We are getting the dog through friends of family. We've seen the litter twice now - they are half black lab, half german pointer. We went this week and decided on the one to take home! There were 4 puppies in the litter - 3 black and 1 yellow. One of the black dogs is a boy, the rest are girls.

We are getting the yellow puppy because she has the most personality by far! When we got there she immediately came up to me to start playing! She's so cute and I can't wait to bring her home!






Friday, May 07, 2010

Tucson

After some fun in Phoenix, we headed south to Tucson to see some old friends. Reid was roommates with Phil, and in the same major as me at TWU. Crazy to think we've been friends for over 10 years!

We started our visit with our now traditional lunch at Vinny's for the BEST HOT WINGS ever. Seriously! Absolutely amazing!!! It's a hole in the wall with plastic folding tables, but the wings are oh-so-good!!!!

Then we spent our afternoon wine tasting. I had no idea that Arizona had a wine country! It's centered around Sonoita and the elevation and soil there make it perfect for grapes. I've been through Napa Valley and the Okanagan wine tasting and these wines were just as good. An added bonus - so much cheaper! Most places we went tasting it was $2-$4 and you got at least 4 wines for that. You buy a glass at the first place you visit (we got ours for only $2) and then you just take it around with you tasting.

At another vineyard...

...with beautiful scenery!

... and a very cool interior

Phil posing with the barrels

The last place we went was Sonoita Vineyards and it was by far the best! $3 to try 9 wines!!!! (and yes, I am a sucker for a good deal). The wines were SOOO good!! Definitely need to go back there sometime.

By the end we had visited 4 vineyards and tried over 20 wines!

Our last day there we went to the Pima Air and Space Museum. I'm a total nerd because I thought it was so cool and absolutely loved it! They had over 300 planes displayed. Of course Laura and I found the displays that you can climb on :)

In the simulator

I think this plane is a stealth bomber. Whatever it is, it looks so freaking cool! It was first built in the 1960s and I'm always so impressed with the technology they had back then, even without an abundance of computers! Maybe they were smarter then.... or just worked harder.

In addition to the 5 hangers, they had tons of planes outside to see as well. Here we are posing under a cool helicopter designed for picking up large loads.

And that sums up our trip. The weather was great, the company fantastic, the food incredible, and the shopping unbelievable! All the makings for a wonderful vacation!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Phoenix

Last week I enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Arizona with friends. The week started with some girlfriends in Phoenix for some shopping, pool side cocktails and relaxing! One of my friend's parents own a house in Scottsdale and it was the perfect get-away!

We spent time by the pool reading, tanning and swimming.

And of course we went shopping. Three women managed to buy this many shoes in only 3 days! I only lay claim to two pairs.

Here is the pool that we got to lounge by.

Hanging out with new friends.

Yummy pina coladas!

On Friday we were joined by our husbands and some other friends as well. We decided to go out for happy hour and got a stylish ride!

Here's the girls crammed into the back seat.

It's hard to read, but the sign says "Fashionable attire required" We thought it was pretty funny.

Hubby and I enjoying vacation!

My friend Elise and I

The girls again!

Saturday morning Phil and I left for Tucson to see other friends. Pictures and stories to come tomorrow!