Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 2 - Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and American Girls!

After breakfast, the kids were dying to go to the American Girl store in L.A. but we went to Hollywood first.  We knew that if we went to the AG store first, we would never make it anywhere else!

I thought Hollywood was pretty cool.  We walked down Hollywood Blvd. and looked at many of the stars on the sidewalk.  We went in a couple shops, and walked by the Kodak theatre.

The Kodak Theatre... 

The Hollywood sign is barely visible in this picture.  This was taken near the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Shirley Temple carved this into the cement.  Her footprints and handprints are to the left and right of the word "ALL."  This block was made in 1935. 

Billy Graham's Hollywood Star... 

Emily & Katie kneeling by Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen's Hollywood Star... 

Wax figure of Marilyn Monroe.  It looked so real! 

Huge palm trees... 

Beverly Hills was amazing.  It really is lots of hills!  It seemed that we were always either going up or down.  We passed many of the stars' homes, which were all beauitful.  Then, we took the girls to the American Girl store, which was the highlight of their day!

They were too excited!

Katie was sorting through all the things she wanted...

Emily, holding her purchases... 

Katie, holding her purchases... 

The store is located in an area called The Grove, which was very pretty, full of shops, and people were everywhere.  I loved the atmosphere and the weather was fantastic. 

Before heading back to the hotel,  we drove to the Hollywood sign - as close as we could get, anyway.  I'm pleased with the picture I got...

It was a great day!  The girls played with their dolls the rest of the evening (except for the short amount of time they spent in the pool).

Day 1 - A Long, Tiring Day

We left the house at 3am, so I didn't bother going to bed.  It was just easier for me that way.  The drive to the airport was fine.  Once we arrived, we checked some luggage and moved on to security.  The moment we removed our shoes and placed our items up on the belt, everything stopped.  There weren't even any people moving, except for the security guards.  We weren't sure what to think of it and there was no explanation given.  You could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet!  No one knew what was going on, and we never found out.

Eventually, about 15 or 20 minutues later, the belts started running again and we all breezed through security, put our shoes back on our feet, and moved on to our gate.  This is where I was prepared to become one of "those" people - you know, the one who raises a big fuss over seating!  When we booked our flight, none of our seats were together.  But we were told several times, by the airline staff and airport personnel, that they would make sure that kids are seated next to a parent.  The airline attendant at the gate didn't sound so promising.  Eventually she was able to move others around so that we had paired seats.  Shew!

That flight was fairly short and uneventful.  But once we landed in Atlanta, we knew we didn't have much time to get to the gate for our connecting flight.  We walked quickly to the tram that would lead near the gate.  This is where I became the brunt of everyone's joke for the day.  The tram takes off very fast, and despite the warnings to "hold on" I thought that leaning up against the pole would be just fine.  Ha!!!  When the tram took off, I nearly fell into the lap of a lady in a wheelchair!  Had it not been for a pole attached to her chair and a man behind me to catch my fall, I would have gone down for sure!  Of course, Jason and the kids thought that was hilarious, and teased about it the rest of the day!

After a quick stop at McDonald's and a pit stop in the restroom, we boarded the plane, got settled and ate our breakfast.  We felt so rushed.  Then, we sat...  and sat...  and sat some more.  After an hour and a half, we finally took off.  We have no idea what the problem was, but after departing, we heard strange noises from the plane that made me a little nervous.  I just said a prayer and knew it would be ok.

We had some turbulence, but nothing unusual.  We each had our own TV with a vast choice of movies; a good thing since this four-hour flight turned into almost six.  That was a long time to sit.  I stood up a couple times to stretch, but it wasn't easy since our seats were right in the center of the plane.  The kids were remarkably good.  Emily was getting anxious.  After all, it had been hours since she'd done any form of gymnastics!  Katie was content sleeping, and watching a movie.  I watched the third Narnia movie.  It was a great movie that I will definitely watch again when I'm not so tired.

As the plane began decending, I peaked out of the window and saw beautiful mountains.  I wished I had a window seat so I could snap some pictures.  Shortly after seeing the mountains, I thought for sure we were landing, judging by all the noises and turbulence we felt.  But we were still in the air.  Finally, we landed and I thank God for delivering us safely to our destination: Los Angeles, CA.

We got our rental car and headed to the hotel.  The drive was nothing spectacular.  I hadn't seen anything worth keeping my eyes open for, so I took a little nap.  Traffic was so heavy that it took us quite some time to get to the hotel.

Our hotel suite is two stories with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room with a fireplace, and a full kitchen.  It's pretty nice and has vaulted ceilings and three TV's!  The kids were just amazed!

Once we got somewhat settled, I took the kids to the pool while Jason worked for a little bit.  They had a great time swimming...

Later on, we picked up some groceries, and ate a small dinner in our room.  It wasn't long before we were all fast asleep.