Thursday, June 30, 2011

Trip to Japan...NOT! (Part 1: Seattle)

Most of my readers know that we were supposed to take a trip to Japan earlier this month - the main reason was to visit Grant's brother, John.  We were going to fly from Seattle to Misawa Air Base in Northern Japan on Sunday, June 12, on what's called a Space Available flight, which is a military thing.  We've flown Space A before, way back when Kendall was just a few weeks old.  That time we flew from Ohio to Germany.  Space A is just what it says - if there is space available on the flight, you can get on.  Which means you don't have guaranteed seats.  Which can be a problem.  We ran into a few of those problems back in 2008, when we were trying to fly back to the States from Germany.  It worked out, just not when we thought it would.

However, with this particular flight to Japan, Grant did a lot of research on it, and from what he could tell, the flight was hardly ever full, which meant there was a good chance we'd get on.

We bought one-way tickets from Long Beach to Seattle, leaving the day before the flight to Japan.  Since the weather in Japan was supposed to be warm and humid, and even tropical where John lives, we packed for such weather. 

So Saturday morning, we headed up to Seattle.  I've never been to the Pacific Northwest before, so I was excited to see a new part of the country.  Grant had been up there before, because his mom is from Seattle.  But the last time he was there was probably over 20 years ago.

Once we got in, we took a shuttle to our hotel.  It wasn't even noon yet, so our room wasn't ready.  We walked down, probably half a mile or so to Subway to get some lunch.  Then we walked back to the hotel, and our room was ready.  So we checked in, and amazingly, we all took about a 3 hour nap.  We had already had a long day, so we were definitely tired.

After we woke up, we got a car to take us to the Market.  I'd seen it on TV so many times, it was cool to finally see it in person!  And I was surprised to see that it was so much more than just a fish market.  It had pretty much everything you could want there.  There was even a pasta booth that had dozens of homemade pastas.  Since I'm a pasta lover, I was intrigued.  We also visited the first-ever Starbucks, which is right there by the Market.

Once we got our fill of the market, we started making our way to the Space Needle.  I'm not gonna lie, we wandered around for a while trying to figure out how to get to the monorail, but we finally found it, and that was a great way to get to the Needle.

We thought when we got to the top that it would be windy and cold, but it actually wasn't!  And it was a nice, sunny, clear day, so the view was great.

Once we finished with the Space Needle, it was getting kind of late (well, late for kids anyway), so we started making our way back to our hotel.  Instead of spending the money getting another car or taxi, we decided to use the public transportation.  Which was great!

We got back to the hotel, went to bed, and got up early the next morning for our flight.

When we got to the airport, we were surprised at how many people were there!  I started getting a bad feeling about the flight, and loooooong story short, we didn't get on.  Not to worry, though.  There was a flight to Tokyo the following Tuesday.  So we decided to rent a car, go see some of Washington State, and come back and try again.

To be continued...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kendall can read!

Okay, not really.  But she has a great memory!

Kendall reads Charlie and Lola from Kelly Spear on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Girl's Weekend!

A while back, Michelle and I started talking about having a girl's weekend before I moved.  After lots of planning (on Michelle's part), it finally happened! 

We went to Santa Barbara, but I'll start from the beginning.  Megan came up from San Diego Friday night to a house full of pukies.  Kendall had been sick a couple days before, and Cami got sick on Friday.  But Megan's contact with the girls was minimal, since she got there after they went to bed, and we were leaving pretty early the next morning.  So of course, Friday night, Megan, Grant, and I stayed up way too late chatting, and then Saturday morning, the plan was to be out the door at 7:30.  Then around 6:30, Kendall threw up again.  So that threw us off a bit. 

By the way, if any of this is sounding familiar to you, it's because pretty much the same thing happened to our family back in April, right before I was supposed to go on the OPC Women's Retreat.  And once again, Grant became husband of the year, for encouraging me to go, even though I didn't really want to at this point.  I was nervous that I was going to get sick while I was gone, or that Grant would get sick while watching the girls by himself.  None of that happened, so that was good.

Anyways, we finally did leave the house, only a few minutes late.  We picked up my friend Ting, and then picked up Michelle, and we were on our way!

First, we stopped at Stan's Donuts in Westwood.  Friday night, I randomly saw some show that was talking about Stan's Donuts, and their famous Reese's donut, and I posted something on Facebook about it.  Michelle said that it could be our first stop on our way to Santa Barbara, and I didn't argue with her!  It was worth the stop, even though I didn't get a picture.  Basically, it's a chocolate covered donut, sprinkled with chocolate chips, and filled with peanut butter.  Delicious!

After that quick stop, we made our way to the Camarillo Outlets, where we all did a good bit of shopping.

It was almost lunch time, so we left the outlets, and finally headed to Santa Barbara, where we went straight to the Arts & Letters Cafe, where the food was delicious.

After lunch, we walked up and down State Street, which is always fun.  The weather that weekend wasn't exactly nice - it was cold and drizzly, if not raining, the whole time.  But that was okay.  If we got cold, we'd just hop in a store every now and then.  Here's Megan and Michelle taking a break in Anthropologie.

We finally made our way to check in at the hotel.  We stayed at the Hotel Oceana, and it was the cutest place ever!  I fell in love with our room.

After relaxing for a bit in the hotel room, we went out for dinner at the Wine Cask/Intermezzo Bar & Cafe.  After we left, I realized that we didn't get a picture there, which was a bummer, because it was so cozy inside.  But the food was great.  Since we had a kind of late lunch, we just ordered drinks and a few appetizers.  Hands down, everyone's favorite was the Gruyere-Dungeness Crab-Artichoke Dip served with Focaccia bread.  I can't even describe how good that was!!

We had to leave quickly, because we wanted to make the 7:15 showing of Bridesmaids, which was at a theatre close to us.  So we walked there, and it started to rain, which was awesome.  But we quickly forgot about the weather, because the movie was hilarious! 

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to get our picture in the lobby. 

Then we all had a cozy night's sleep in our super cute hotel room, got up the next morning and started getting ready for church.  But first, we went to the hotel's breakfast, which was kind of a trainwreck.  The breakfast was in the smallest room ever, and it was filled to over capacity!  People were bumping into each other, there were no plates, and forget about tables!  Finally, Megan and I saw a teeny tiny table open up, and we grabbed it before anyone else could.  Which meant that we were actually the ones who cleaned off the table.  So the four of us crammed into this tiny little two-person table, and as we were eating, the room really started to clear out.  By the time we were done, there was hardly anyone left, so apparently, we just hit it at rush time. 

We finished up, checked out, and made our way to church.  We went to the local OPC - El Camino Presbyterian in Goleta.  When we got there and when we left, it was raining the hardest it had all weekend.  So that's what this picture is all about.

The plan was to eat lunch in Santa Barbara, but since it was so dreary, Michelle suggested that maybe we should just drive south until it got sunny.  We knew it was sunny down here in the South Bay, so we were hoping we wouldn't have to drive too far.  Ting told us about Paradise Cove in Malibu that her and her husband had been to, so we made our way there.  It was a perfect suggestion!  It was right on the beach, and the food was awesome, although we did have to keep our eyes on those seagulls.  They were pretty aggressive.

And that was it!  It was a short, but super sweet weekend, and I'm glad we were all able to go.  I love my friends, and will miss them when I leave, so it was nice to spend this extra time with them.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Kendall Speak - Part 10

Grant was putting Kendall to bed, and he always goes over the catechism questions with her.  I guess she was really engaged in the questions, so she started having a pretty deep theological conversation with him.  They were talking about original sin and death and how that's related, and Kendall said, "Well, I not gonna die.  I don't do bad nings (things)...Cami does bad nings."

If you know anything about LA, you know that there's a ridiculous amount of interstates.  Kendall always wants to know which interstate we're going on, and she usually thinks everything is the 405.  A while back, we had to take two interstates to get to where we were going - the 710 and the 91.  Not the 405. 
Her:  "Mama, are we on the interstate?  Are we on the 405?" 
Me: "No, we're on the 710."
Her:  "Oh, I know all about the 710, you don't need to tell me about that."

She's doing this new thing, where she sits at her little table, "reading".  She'll sit there for the longest time, looking at the pictures of whatever book she's reading, turning the pages, etc.  I was getting dinner ready and I said, "Kendall, are you reading?"  She said, "Yeah.  It's called relaxin'."

The other morning, I got up early to sew, and Kendall decided to get up early, too.  I usually don't let her up before her clock turns green, but this was Memorial Day, and she was standing outside her door saying, "Mama, it's a howiday!  It's a howiday!"  So I let her get up.  So, she was watching me sew, and she said that when she grows up, she wants a sewing machine just like mine.  Except pink.  No, white.  Maybe purple.  Then she said she wanted her own kitchen and I said that someday, she'll get her own house.  She got very upset by that thought, then said that she would get a house right next to ours, and Cami would also get a house next to us.