09 April, 2013

Day 11: Mini Javinsky Family Reunion

So we left the hotel en route to San Fransico but had to make a quick stop at the Hearst Castle to pic up some souvinears. Then off we went to San Francisco, didnt encounter anything too big of deal on the way there, we did stop for lunch at Pollo Locco, another local chain, boy was that good! Once we arrived in San Fran is when it got crazy, traffic was a little busy because of the Giants game and so many streets were closed and we couldnt turn left of on the ones we needed to, Chris was getting a bit irritated to say the least. Once we finally figured out which way to go we encountered what San Fran is famous for, their steep streets! We made it up one and when we got to the top you couldnt even see the street below, the kids thought it was a rollercoaster and me and my mom were freaking out, my dad was playing it cool and Chris, well he was driving so he had to stay calm and was just happy he was heading in the right direction! We finally made it to the hotel, Marine Memorial Club, Chris dropped us all off at the front and he went to park the car. Side bar, we were originally going to return our car and use public transportation but I got to thinking and changed the plan, so glad we did, it made life so much easier and we were able to do a few extra things we hadn't planned. I got us all checked in and Up to our suite we went. The room was perfect, a living room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We cleaned up and got ready for the 4 o'clock reception they offer guests, we were also going to be meeting up for dinner with all of our San Fran Javinsky family, a much anticipated gathering that had been in the works since we knew we were visiting San Fran. My dad hadnt seen his cousins for 28 years, so he was really looking forward to this visit! So glad everyone could make it, even Geoff, our Brother-in-Law, was in town visiting his son for his birthday so they joined in... It was a great evening full of great conversation and reliving memories.
We walked back to the hotel, which was just a couple blocks over and headed to bed for we had a full day planned ahead of us!

Day 13: Last Day, Just How Much Can We Fit In?

Yes, that was the challenge... Just how muchncan we cram in toma day?!? We got up early, enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel and headed out for the Golden Gate Bridge. We so badly wanted to walk across it but we knew we didnt have time, so we parked at the lookout and walked a good bit across before turning around and walking back to the lookout for some pics. Then we loaded back in the car to head to Muir Woods, part of the National Parks. Muir Woods is what I consider the Redwood Forest from the song This Land is Your Land! It was beautiful and we could have spent so much time there, however we just quickly did the Junior Ranger booklet so the kids could get their badges and off we went to our next destination, which was a surprise to the kids! On our way to our surprise destination we stopped at Del Taco, yet another popular fast food joint, imagine Taco Bell but better! After eating some yummy tacos we continued on in our journey and we soon arrived at the Jelly Bean Factory! The kids were so excited, this was one of the reasons we kept the van, if not we would not have been able to do any of this that we did today. As we waited for our tour to begin the kids went and did some tasting at the Sample Bar and looked at all the art work done in Jelly Beans alone! The tour was great, we all got little hats and they took us around to show us the whole process, at the end we each got a bag of Jelly Beans! Did you know the most popular flavor is Cherry? Of course we also purchased some too:). What a fun time! After we left there we headed back to San Fran to visit The Disney Family Museum. I can not say enough about this place, first off they were so generous and let my whole family in for FREE since Chris is in the military. Every Disney fan must visit this great museum, it showcases so much of Walt's life and how the whole Disney brand came about, you would be surprised by some of the things you will learn and see! After the museum we took some pictures of the Bridge from the Presidio, it was beautiful! We got back in the car to tackle our last must-do, Lombard St. What fun that was to zig-zag down the steepest street, I am glad Chris was driving, b/c I am not sure I could handle that. Now it was time to drop our stuff at the hotel and go back to Chinatown to get dinner. We did the same type of dining like the night before with the lazy susan, that really is the way to go! Again, after dinner we stopped at Starbucks for one last drink in the city and then back to the hotel to finish packing. We had a very early flight the next morning so we needed to be ready. Our last day in San Fran was jam packed with fun we will not soon forget. Tmrw we must return home, back to reality and to start planning our next adventure!

Day 12: San Francisco Craziness!

So today we had a busy schedule! First Alcatraz tour of the day then meeting up with friends and family to tour San Fran a little bit! It started off really well, the Alcatraz tour was amazing, I am so glad we fit it in to our schedule, we were told it was a do not miss and boy was everyone right! The boat ride over was only about 15-20 mins long and very smooth, it was a foggy day so the views of the city and the bridges weren't the best but they were indicitive to San Fran so it was cool. Touring The Rock went pretty quickly since we were the first boat on the island, I highly recommend doing this for this reason alone! We wanted to do the Junior Ranger program but the shop that sells the 2$ guide was not open yet, so we went on and did our own thing with plans to do it later. While you tour the island you get a headset with a recorded tour guide so you can do a self guided tour. It worked very well. The kids really enjoyed it and had a great time. Once we completed the self guided tour we got the Junior Range guide and did that, only took another 20 mins or so and then they recieved their Jr Ranger Badges:). We took the ferry back and met with our cousin Bob and then met up with Geoff and the kids then my lovely friend, Terri and her wonderful daughter, Ashley! This is when the crazy begins! Though it was WONDERFUL to be with so many people and we were so excited to have them make the time to spend with us it was a little hard. The kids were very tired at this point in the trip and being way overstimulated made for some behavior I was not particulary happy with... We went and ate lunch and they were fine there but just walking around and whatnot they got a little antsy. It was great enjoying lunch with Terri and catching up, oh how I wish we were closer, she is such a dear friend! After lunch we walked over to see the Sea Lions, how cool was that, they just lay around on these floating docks, so cool! After that it was time for a pick me up and head to Ghiredellis (sp?). It was quite busy and with as many people as we had it was hard to manuver around and the kids were being little punks (leia and Jacob at least), they ticked me off at the wrong moment and got punished by not getting any ice cream, yes... Call me a mean Mommy, I dont care! Finally we found a place to squeez in to to eat but we found two tables apart from each other... Then get this, the table next to us opened and we kindly asked the gals that sat down there if they would switch with the other table so we could all sit next to each other and they said, NO! We were taken back with that, but whatever, not everyone is nice! After ice cream we headed back to the Wharf, said good bye to everyone and headed to the hotel to park the car and drop off our bags and then make our way to dinner where we would meet some more family in Chinatown! After going down the wrong street we finally made it and everyone was already seated. It was pretty neat, we were at a big round table with a lazy susan in the middle, we just ordered a bunch of different entrees and appitizers and just shared... I really liked doing it that way. It was super yummy and the kids did well, which was a relief concidering how they were earlier in the day. After dinner we strolled Chinatown, bought a dufflebag so we could bring all of the extra stuff we bought the last 2 weeks in back home and stopped at Starbucks for a nightcap and treat! All-in-All a great day, long and cranky at times, but a great day. Tomorrow will be our last full day and we aren't slowing down, we figured out a way to get all of our last min visits in... Stay tuned to see how it went:)

06 April, 2013

Day 10: Libraries and Castles!

We said "See ya real soon" to Disneyland and headed just North of L.A. to the Reagan Library. We have been looking forward to this not only beacuse we will see Ronald Reagan's legacy but also because it is hosting D23's Walt Disney Treasures, we were so happy to see it was on display through April! The Regan Library was amazing, so much great artifacts from such an amazing man. We got to see Air Force One as well, pretty cool stuff! Leia was beside herself and the workers were all impressed with her interest and knowledge of the former President. The Walt Disney Treasures was something impressive to, we saw the large books they used in Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella to start the movies, remember that? They had the car and motocycle from Tron, and a bunch of other neat stuff. How exciting to be able to experience this! We shopped in the gift shop for alittle bit, since it was the last month of the exhibit all the stuff was on sale, SCORE! We bought up a BUNCH of pins exclusive to this event! Before we left we walked around to see the piece of the Berlin Wall and Ronald Reagan's grave. We could have spent much more time there but we had to go in order to make it to the Hearst Castle in time for our tour and we still needed to get lunch! We told my parents about In and Out Burger and they wanted to try it too, so twist my arm... that is where we went, they loved it!
So, up the PCH we went with spectacular views along the way. We arrived in San Simeon in just enough time to unload the car, breath a moment and get back in the car to get to the Castle. We planned on eating there for dinner, however the cafe was closed by the time we got there so we had to settle for sandwhiches and parfaits for dinner from the little kisosk of grab and go snacks. After we ate we waited for the bus to take us up the windy road along side the hilltop the Castle sit atop. Once we arrived at the castle we were transported back in time to around 1933, the peak of the Hearst era. They even had people in that periods clothing staged throughout the castle. We learned so much about the Hearst family and the celebrities that frequent the castle, it is truely and amazing structure... beautiful grounds, large pools, expansive views out all the windows, marvolous furnishing from all over the world. It is really something to be seen! It was a late tour so when we were finished we had to travel down that windy roading, down... a little scary but we made it. To our surprise the gift shop was closed so we said we will leave a little eariler the next morning so we could stop by before we headed out. Back to our hotel for the night, kids cleaned up and put to bed! Up next, San Francisco... Maybe our most hectic of times, def the most trying with the kiddos!