Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 15 – Preparing for Home

We’ve made ourselves quite comfortable here which means that every nook and cranny must be checked before we go.  And since our time left here is short, packing must be done.  Boo!!! 
The American Girl purchases are consuming space in our luggage, so we boxed up some things to ship back home today.  We went ahead and packed our luggage to make sure everything would fit.  This turned out to be a huge relief.  We were able to enjoy the rest of the day and evening and will be able to easily get moving in the morning.  We have until noon to check out and we’ll probably use that time to the fullest and maybe even fit in one last swim before we go.
We did a couple loads of laundry today, which should have been done a week ago.  We swam and played tennis for a little while...

 ...and then enjoyed a meal at the Rainforest CafĂ©.  The kids thought that was the coolest restaurant ever!  It was definitely a fun, relaxing, and memorable day.

Day 14 – Anaheim & Newport Beach

Jason had a meeting in Anaheim today.  When he first told me about going to Anaheim, I asked him what was there for the kids and me to do during his meeting.  Little did I know that Anaheim is where Disneyland is!  Had I known that we were so close to Disneyland, I might have planned a visit there.  But, since we are flying home in two days, there's no time for it.
We went to Downtown Disney and walked around.

Waiting for a funnel cake...

We even peaked in through the entrance gate and snapped a quick picture.  (Don't worry, the kids aren't scarred for life having not gone in!)

Emily wasn’t impressed and didn’t have much interest in going.  Katie wanted to do it all!  She wanted to go in the park, she wanted her hair done like a princess, and she wanted to buy everything she saw!  I’m praying for her future husband!
Once we met back up with Jason, we went back to Downtown Disney for a little while, and then we drove to Newport Beach to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from the pier.
While we were there, a man caught a sand shark and I was able to snap a picture...
(I'd like to say this is me holding the shark, but clearly, it is not!)

The sunset was beautiful...

We ate dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  It was delicious - really great shrimp!  And the atmosphere was fun!

Katie posed with Mr. Shrimp for a picture...

Day 13 – California Science Center & Hollywood

Driving through downtown L.A. to get to the California Science Center was less than fun.  But, I did it and we made it there safely.  All I can say is that I’m thankful for the invention of GPS!
The Science Center was great for a free thing to do.  It is much smaller than other science museums that we’ve toured through.

I’m always surprised at how much the kids take in during museum tours.  During a visit, they are often quiet or don’t show much interest.  But when they share their experience with others, they remember way more than I do, and with greater detail!
While telling Jason about astronauts, Katie remembered that after returning from space, an astronaut’s heart rate will increase and they often faint.  This is due to the change of gravity and how the heart (blood pressure) reacts to it.
Emily was fascinated with the planes and how speed and air pressure forces and controls flight.

Inside the wind tunnel...

They climbed into a real helicopter…

It was a short drive to Hollywood Blvd. from the Science Center, so we decided to go there next.  But before parking, we took a detour.  Even though I had already gotten a good picture of the Hollywood sign last week, today’s clear blue sky drew me back to it!  It was well worth the trek up the mountain.   The research I had done earlier in the week paid off because we were able to get closer than before.   The roads up the mountain became more narrow and curvy as we elevated.   When we came to the end of the road (literally – we were as far up as we could go), we parked, got out, and stood in awe of how close we actually were!  The kids were proud of me for driving up there!

After what would be our last trip to the sign, I drove to and parked just off of Hollywood Blvd. so that we could take what we thought would be one last stroll down the “walk of fame.”  We were on the hunt for some souvenirs.  We walked into the Hollywood Wax Museum’s gift shop and noticed some all too familiar figures standing on one side…
Seeing this made us all want to go in to see more.  But there was no time that day.  I knew that driving back to the hotel would be a nightmare, so we had to get moving.
There’s no way I would live or work in L.A.  It took us over 2-1/2 hours to drive back to the hotel!  The traffic was just insane.  Thankfully, I had taken snacks, water, and ice in a small cooler because we were really hungry.  We didn’t make it back to the hotel until 8:00 and then we went out for pizza.  We just brought it back to the hotel to eat.
It was an ok day.  Not my favorite, but not too bad either.
I’ll end this entry with a little historical fact.  When placed on the side of hill, the Hollywood sign originally read “Hollywoodland” which was the name of the real estate development on top the hill.  The company was trying to entice buyers and advertised the area by placing the 50-foot tall letters on the side of the hill.  Some years later, “land” was removed from the sign and it became the well-known icon that it is today.